OPEC Fund extends US$80,000 grant to help introduce health care services in Kitui, Kenya

114/2005 November 22, 2005, Vienna, Austria . The OPEC Fund for International Development has approved a grant of US$80,000 to co-finance construction of a health care center in the Kitui district in Kenya. Sponsored by the BIDII Women's Self Help Group (WSHG), the scheme aims at improving quality of life and reducing the incidence of disease among the area's 108,000 people.

Health indicators in the impoverished Kitui District are unfavorable, particularly among women and children. Local medical services are non-existent, necessitating a 50 km journey to the nearest hospital, which is, in itself, under-staffed and ill-equipped.

The Group is a non-profit NGO created in 1996 with the mandate to help alleviate poverty and provide disadvantaged communities in Kenya with access to medical services. Its principal programs focus on the areas of preventative health care, integrated food security and gender empowerment.

WSHG's present initiative will construct a fully-equipped, 2,000 m2 health care center in Kitui District. In addition to an operating theater, the facility will offer a wide range of services for a nominal fee. Medical personnel will be hired, in addition to 10 local women, who will be trained in traditional birth practices.

The provision of affordable, reliable medical services will do much to reduce poor families' social and economic vulnerability, and in turn, fight poverty in the district.

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