The Research Africa Lab is situated in Nairobi – Kenya at the Landmark Plaza and shares the facilities with the Philips East Africa commercial team. Kenya is a well-recognized hub in the continent and hosts many businesses and institutions that support innovation. As Philips, we work with local universities and institutions to fulfill our commitment to deliver meaningful innovations in Africa. We partner with academic research institutions, non-governmental organizations, UN bodies and incubators.
Currently the Research Africa team has a compliment of seventeen scientists, working closely with our labs in India and Eindhoven to collectively realize the various projects in the global research portfolio.
Our vision is to impact 300 million lives in Africa by 2025 through scalable, appropriate and sustainable health innovations. To achieve our vision, the department has developed the following competencies to create locally relevant innovations:
- Health Economics – offering end-to-end health economics expertise and thought leadership that enable the development of sustainable, scalable and appropriate health innovations.
- Community Health – developing solutions to improve access to healthcare, by approaching primary care holistically through high quality service delivery.
- Understanding People and Experience Design – driving excellence in Designing End 2 End Value Proposition by User- centric Research and Contextual Analysis of Varied Experiences.
- Application and User Interface for Connected Products – in collaboration with other department building solutions that lead to use real-time data to make actionable and informed insights and key decisions.
Community Life Centres
One of the main Research projects is the Community Life Centers (CLC). The Community Life Centres are built around community engagement to provide a total solution for primary healthcare with the aim of not only improving healthcare but also enabling community development.
Globally, around 70 percent of preventable deaths happen at the community level. If we want to improve health care at the community level then we need to first understand how the community accesses healthcare before we propose solutions. There was a need to co-create with the community and understand their health-seeking behaviours. We started with assessing primary healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa; by co-creating with different target groups in rural communities (women's groups, men's groups, care givers and entrepreneurs) in this way, the health centre became a community hub.
In Kenya we launched our first CLC on 23rd June 2014 in collaboration with Kiambu County Government where we upgraded a dispensary at Githurai-Langata to a Community Life Centre. Within 18 months of its opening (from June 2014 – Dec 2015), the first CLC saw the number of outpatients visiting per month increase from 900 to 4080; the number of children being treated quadrupled from 533 to 2370; 1st antenatal care patients grew by fifteen fold from 13 to 188 patients each month while the number of 4th antenatal care patients each month grew sixteen fold, from 6 to 94. The maternity wing of the Centre enables women to deliver their babies in a safe and secure environment and since its inception 634 babies have been born with an average of 36 babies currently born at the facility each month; this number has been growing with time.
The CLC has also created a platform where the community can develop themselves financially through providing a space for commercial activities e.g. retail shops. Security is also enhanced by the installation of outdoor area lighting. This creates a secure area for the evenings for the community. A survey on behalf of Philips reported that 72% of respondents felt more secure in the evenings.