M-PESA Foundation and Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation on Thursday launched a telemedicine initiative—Daktari Smart— in Lamu County.
The program, that targets over 32,000 children in Lamu, Samburu, Homabay, Baringo Counties, aims to reduce the number of referrals of sick children by allowing county health facilities to have access to specialists. Two other counties will be brought on board in the next phase of this program.
It will also optimize the capacity and reach of healthcare delivery systems by helping bridge the gap of access to healthcare services in Lamu.
According to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, the doctor to patient ratio currently stands at about one doctor for every 6,355 people which leads to difficulties in getting access to a qualified medical professional. This ratio increases when it comes to specialists. The participating counties in the program either have one or no paediatrician to treat children.
Through the initiative, doctors in Lamu County will thus be able to connect with their counterparts at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital for specialist medical advice, in a bid to reduce patient referrals, save on costs, and increase prompt treatments.
“Patients in this county have been referred as far as Mombasa County and sometimes it’s too little, too late. And this is what Daktari Smart seeks to address,” said Karen Basiye, Head of Sustainable Business and Social Impact, Safaricom, in Lamu County during the launch.
M-PESA Foundation has committed over KES 168 million towards the initiative while Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation will invest over KES 35 million in the next 3 years.
“The Daktari Smart program will enable us to provide the much-needed specialist care to children in far flung areas, as well as develop appropriate data and information to support paediatric healthcare in the country,” said Les Baillie, the Chairman of Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation.