How can promising pilot projects be turned into programmes that help millions? How can women be empowered to improve family planning? What can be done to provide high-quality obstetric care in rural areas?
These are the kinds of questions AKU’s Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, East Africa, explores. At its helm is Director Marleen Temmerman, an obstetrician-gynaecologist who is former Director of Women’s Health and Research at the World Health Organization and the author of more than 500 articles and books.
Among the Centre’s first initiatives are major maternal and child health projects in Kenya and Tanzania. In Kenya’s Kilifi and Kisii counties, it will work with government health facilities to address the health needs of 135,000 women and children. The effort is part of a C$ 31 million project dubbed Access to Quality Care through Extending and Strengthening Health Systems, which also includes work in Mozambique, Mali and Pakistan.
In Tanzania’s Mwanza region, the Centre will participate in an effort to improve the quality of health care in 80 government facilities under a C$ 15 million effort known by its acronym, IMPACT. As many as 740,000 women and children could benefit.
Both projects are collaborations with the Aga Khan Foundation and the Aga Khan Health Services, and are funded by Global Affairs Canada and Aga Khan Foundation Canada. “AKU is part and parcel of the health system in East Africa,” Dr Temmerman said. “There is a lot of potential to have an impact.”