Saving the lives of mothers and babies who lack emergency obstetric care is the life’s calling of Aggrey Otieno, who is empowering impoverished Nairobi slum-dwellers through a telemedicine centre.
Crowded, corrugated iron shanties, open drains and an ever-present security threat blight lives in Korogocho, one of Nairobi’s most abject slums. It is home to 200,000 people who are mired in poverty and lack even the most basic amenities. But Aggrey Otieno, who returned to his home town after studying for a master’s degree in the United States, has given his community hope. After his sister nearly died in childbirth he decided to make pregnancy and childbirth safer. Noticing that most people used mobile phones, through his non-governmental organization, Pambazuko Mashinani, he offered a solution to those needing emergency obstetric care through a 24-hour telemedicine centre.
Women die because they live outside the reach of modern medicine.
Since 2013, the centre has transported 1,304 women to hospital for emergency care, and some 900,000 slum dwellers in the wider area have access to information through the organization’s weekly radio programmes.
Otieno is now selling slum health information management and child protection software through mobile applications. His outreach campaign includes training for traditional birth attendants and the public.
One woman in 29 risks dying while giving birth in Korogocho, compared with one in 2,200 in the US
Women transported to health care facilities outside Korogocho
Reproductive-age women who receive text messages through a weekly bulk texting system