Italian Development Cooperation has organised an awareness-raising day on mother-and-baby health at Kirua, in Kenya's Meru district. A free ultrasound scan service will be available free to pregnant women to check their babies' size and heartbeat and the exact position of the placenta. Kenya has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. The causes are many: relatively high pre-natal diagnosis costs, shortage of trained health-care personnel, early pregnancies and home births assisted by unqualified personnel.
Italian Development Cooperation's initiative on "Support for district health services and the development of public-private partnership policies" is worth 4.8 million euros. Its aim is to improve 12 of Kenya's hospitals through action in two main areas. One is to draw up health-sector partnership policies to give more people with access to services and to ensure that the same quality level is provided by the private and public health sectors. And the second is to up-grade public and non-profit private health services in the Eastern and Nyanza provinces, in terms of services provided, equipment, rehabilitation and training.
The Italian Cooperation programme, introduced in 2009, is run directly from three offices: a central office based at the Development Cooperation's local unit in Nairobi and two provincial offices in Meru and Kisumu.