As news of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to grab global headlines, one aspect of the scourge has gone largely unreported: it’s impact on African mothers. Over the course of 2020, maternal deaths in Africa have seen a dramatic surge, according to public health experts. Much of this was due in part to the novel coronavirus.

According to a study conducted last year by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Covid-19 could prove indirectly responsible for an additional 56, 700 maternal deaths globally over the past six months. The bulk of these deaths were expected in Africa.

Even in pre-pandemic times, Africa has been plagued by chronically low numbers of skilled healthcare professionals, medical facilities & supplies – all of which are key to supporting safe childbirth. Now, with the virus placing heavier strain on healthcare facilities across the continent, pregnant women have become even more vulnerable to medical neglect – posing risk their own lives as well as to those of their unborn children.

Social entrepreneur Pascal Mukadi has launched an initiative to boost support for African mothers & their children. Mono-Priced Clinics provide affordable, high-quality healthcare services – including prenatal, perinatal & postnatal care – to at-risk women across the continent. Candidate mothers receive full, comprehensive medical support – medical diagnostics; pediatric consultations; prenatal nutrition; vaccinations; childbirth delivery & other ancillary services – for a period of 5 years.

All services are rendered for a single, once-off cost pegged to the poverty line of each country. Pilot clinics are set to launch in East Africa during the second quarter of 2021, with others to follow in West & Central Africa.

“Women are among our most valuable resources” says Mukadi. “When we ensure their wellbeing, we ensure the wellbeing of nations.”

“By serving & supporting African women through the Mono-Priced Clinics, we’re fuelling Africa’s potential.”

To boost the viability of the initiative, the core services of the clinics are provided by accredited, community-based midwives with the back-up support of gynecologists, obstetricians & other formal medical staff.

And, significantly, each Mono-Priced Clinic is housed in a disused freight container fully-equipped & renovated with modern, state-of-the-art medical equipment. The containerized delivery model, Mukadi says, ensures the long-term environmental & social sustainability of the initiative.

“We expect Mono-Priced Clinics to become an integral part of African healthcare systems across the continent” advises Mukadi. “We have a service delivery model that is innovative, practical & well-suited to African realities.

“It will revolutionize African healthcare.”

In addition, Mukadi believes that Mono-Priced Clinics will help save & nurture lives. As part of their service offering, the clinics will also provide foster care & early childhood development support for the children born through the program.

“Poor access to maternal healthcare pressurizes many African women to have abortions – in many cases not because they want to, but because they feel that they have no other choice given their circumstances.”

“Mono-Priced Clinics will provide them with a safe, viable alternative.”

Mukadi sees his initiative as more than a public health exercise; he sees it as a tool for unlocking Africa’s potential.

“Mono-Priced Clinics will save the lives of hundreds of thousands of women & children across Africa” he predicts. “Many of these will be the future leaders of tomorrow: scientists, artists, engineers, doctors, academics & far, far more.”

“As Africans, we owe it to ourselves to give these lives a chance.”

Author: MFM Editor

Published by: MFM Media

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