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Kenya’s Health-Tech Ilara Health bags $1.1M grant funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Ilara Health

Nairobi-based Ilara Health gets a grant to develop effective antenatal care equipment that provides tech-based solutions for women who are pregnant. The ANC tools in question focus on home-based innovations and point-of-care tools. The investment grant is worth $1,120,262.

In a statement released after the press release, the co-founder and CEO of Ilara Health, Emilian Popa said, “This grant underscores the acute need for the continuation of essential ANC services during the COVID-19 pandemic and we hope to see a great reduction in poor maternal and neonatal health outcomes through its implementation in these low-resource peri-urban areas.”

Ilara Health works closely with Kisumu’s Ministry of Health and the the Kenya Medical Research Institute. The group plans on leveraging their extensive network of local primary care facilities, home-based consultations from health workers, and telemedicine – all aimed at ensuring continuity of vital lifesaving medicare during the pandemic and in the future.

The grant will impact 4,000 pregnant women from low-income backgrounds within Kisumu County. This compensates for the drop in ANC care for attendance in large healthcare facilities due to concerns over Covid-19. Data shows less than 3% of women across the country meet the WHO recommended requirement of 8 months ante-natal care. The positive data reduces the maternal death count and the likelihood of still-births.

Maternal mortality remains high at 342 death per 100,000 recorded in 2017. Kisumu’s 2019 numbers are way higher than the national average at 595 deaths for every 100,000 live births.

Ilara Health and their partners will avail vital ANC at the small clinics. This project will revamp diagnostics locally and via Ilara Health’s technology platform.


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