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Improving access to primary healthcare is a key challenge across Africa. Philips Community Life Centers provide vital primary care but also go beyond that, turning health facilities into community hubs where technology is bundled with additional service offerings. For example, local people can buy clean water and sustainable products from them, such as home solar lighting. Philips Community Life Centers are also designed to offer people a safe environment, using solar-powered LED outdoor lighting to illuminate the area at night, improving security and extending daylight hours.
Philips CLC platforms can be created as new stand-alone facilities or be implemented in existing facilities. The flexibility and modularity of the platform allows it to be tailored to the local healthcare requirements, in terms of the service package offered, the volume of patients and local needs and circumstances.
Philips has been developing and modifying the CLC platform since 2014, when it opened its first site in Kiambu County, Kenya. The second CLC was inaugurated in Tadu village in the Democratic Republic of Congo in November 2016.
Within eighteen months of its opening (from June 2014 – December 2015), the Kiambu County CLC saw:
the total number of outpatients visiting per month increase from 900 to 4080
the number of children being treated quadrupling from 533 to 2370
first antenatal care patient numbers growing fifteen-fold from 13 to 188 patients each month, with the number of fourth visit antenatal care patients each month growing sixteen-fold, from 6 to 94
The maternity wing of the center enables women to give birth in a safe and secure environment. Since its inception, 634 babies have been born in the unit – an average of 36 babies per month.
Mandera County CLC
The new CLC in Mandera County, Kenya, builds on the tangible success of the Kiambu and Tadu centers, and was developed in close partnership with Mandera County’s local authorities and the community from the very beginning, including the initial feasibility, assessment and design phases. As a result, it is a turnkey solution developed by the community for the community. Philips also teamed up with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Government of Mandera County, and AMREF Flying Doctors, which helps to train staff.
Healthcare in Africa
According to a report  by the United Nations International Labor Organization, almost half of the world’s population does not have access to healthcare. The report shows that 56% of people living in rural areas worldwide cannot access healthcare, and that in Africa the number spikes to 83%.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, four in 10 people have no access to healthcare facilities or personnel, and for those that do, the quality of services is often low . Investing in sustainable, accessible, quality primary care is key to addressing Africa’s most pressing healthcare issues and improving the lives of people living on the African continent.
The issues around primary care in Africa are complicated and multifaceted, and in order to create sustainable improvement, addressing these issues collectively is needed. Challenges include a lack of qualified healthcare workers, non-operability of available medical equipment, a lack of electricity, water and basic healthcare technology, and a lack of sustainability and reliable data.
Technologies from the Philips Africa Innovation Hub
To provide locally relevant innovations that address these challenges, Philips established its Africa Innovation Hub in Kenya in 2014 as a center for developing innovations in Africa, for Africa. The Philips Africa Innovation Hubis locatedat the company’s East African Headquarters in Nairobi, where talented African nationals and international researchers work together in an environment of‘open innovation’ in close collaboration with the wider R&D ecosystems of Kenya and Africa as a whole. The hub specializes in developing low-resource medical solutions and business models for scaling these innovations in a sustainable manner. The technologies it uses take into account the demanding local circumstances and challenges that health workers in Africa have to deal with on a daily basis. Examples that can already be found in Philips CLCs are:
Philips’ wind-up fetal heart rate monitor –enabling general monitoring and easy diagnosis of problems in the absence of electricity supplies or even batteries
Philips’ Children’s Automated Respiration Monitor – enabling the accurate diagnosis of pneumonia (a complication accounting for 15% of all deaths in children under 5)
Ultra-mobile ultrasound – a portable easy to use system that provides high-quality ultrasound images
Philips – present in Africa for over 100 years
Philips has been present in Africa for over 100 years and is committed to providing effective solutions to the continent’s diverse markets. Philips has a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of the African market as well as the key challenges facing Africa today, and is rapidly increasing its presence on the African continent by developing local talent and organizations, increasing its commercial footprint, and introducing innovative products and solutions that are relevant to local needs.
Philips has a direct presence in seven African countries – Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa (corporate HQ). With over a century of experience in the region, the company has become the market leader in healthcare provision across Africa. Philips takes a holistic, long-term approach to partnering with local stakeholders to improve local healthcare infrastructures, and contribute to clinical training and the training of local healthcare workers.
Philips in Africa fully supported UN Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, aimed at reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Several innovations and partnerships have resulted from this dedicated commitment. The company has also committed itself to supporting SDG 3, focused on “ensuring good health and well-being for all at all ages”.
Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips' health technology portfolio generated 2016 sales of EUR 17.4 billion and employs approximately 70,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at www.philips.com/newscenter.
About UNFPA Kenya
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. In Kenya, UNFPA, was established in 1972 and has been expanding the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives.
Currently, UNFPA is implementing its 8th Government of Kenya – UNFPA Country Programme (2014-2018) in alignment with the Kenya United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF, 2014-2018) and in support of the Kenya Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan (2014-2018) and Vision 2030. UNFPA does this in partnership with the Government, development partners, private sector and other key-stakeholders. Visit www.kenya.unfpa.org for more information.
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