Lifebox in Kenya

Local business supports local healthcare improvement.


Kenya is a beautiful country in East Africa, best known for its wonderful game reserves and spectacular annual migrations in the Maasai Mara. However, scratch beneath the surface, and there is much of concern. Kenya ranks 145th on the UN Human Development Index, and funding for health is limited. Anaesthesia is particularly neglected, with around 120 physician anaesthetists and 300 Anaesthetic Clinical Officers serving the population of 42 million. Despite these difficulties, the Kenya Society of Anaesthesiologists (KSA) is thriving. Its members are determined to improve the standard of anaesthesia for all Kenyans, particularly those living in rural areas where anaesthesia is routinely provided without the benefit of a pulse oximeter; a situation scarcely imaginable for those of us working in more affluent surroundings.

Lifebox has worked with a diverse range of partners across Kenya; ranging from the global cleft lip/palate charity Smile Train to Tennessee-based Vanderbilt International Anesthesia supporting nurse provider training at Kijabe Hospital. We are particularly proud of our 2013-2016 partnership with the KSA and one of East Africa’s leading marketing firms WPP-Scangroup Ltd., which provided 300 pulse oximeters and training to providers across the country. This collaboration not only means safer anaesthesia for patients in Kenya, it is a model of sustainability and an example of how local businesses can support local healthcare initiatives.

“I think this has made the greatest impact of all the projects undertaken. It will make a very big impact on patients safety.  It has reached out to everybody’s heart.”

Dr Idris Chepoke, anaesthetist in Nakuru, Kenya

“Truly, I think this is a great day for this country.  In fact I don’t know why we’re not covering it on national news, and putting it on the front page of all the newspapers…The fact that all the hospitals represented here are going to get pulse oximeters is important for the continent.”

Dr Wangui Thang’a, consultant anaesthetist 

“We can directly save lives with a mere $250 pulse oximeter which is designed for the rugged environment of Africa.”

Dr Mark Newton, anaesthesiologist, Kijabe Hospital

“I really wanted to see the impact of the pulse oximeter donated. I met two theatre nurses, who showed me the box that the oximeter came in. They were beaming and obviously so proud of having such an instrument – outside was so dusty – but the oximeter box was perfectly clean and cared for.”

Alice Greenlees, International Coordinator for CHASE Africa (Bungoma Hospital)

"A great day for Kenya!" from Lifebox Foundation on Vimeo.