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.