WHP Selected for the Sundance Institute’s Stories of Change Initiative

The World Health Partners team is excited to announce that WHP has been selected to participate in the Stories of Change Initiative, a multi-year collaboration between the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and the Skoll Foundation. The Stories of Change Initiative aims to support documentary storytelling about changemakers around the globe who are creating solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

 The Sundance Institute will be supporting a collaborative project between WHP and Henry Tenenbaum, a renowned journalist and media creator with over 40 years of experience in reporting, producing and training.

With the support of the Sundance Institute, Tenenbaum will work with the WHP team to create audio, video, and photos stories that illustrate how WHP’s work with local entrepreneurs is helping families in rural India and Kenya.

“We are grateful to the Sundance Institute for supporting this project,” said WHP President Gopi Gopalakrishnan. “We want to use this opportunity to work with Mr. Tenenbaum to capture the emotional and compelling stories of how WHP is helping to save children’s lives, offer women leadership opportunities and meaningful work in their community, and support local governments to do more with existing resources.”

Tenenbaum has received nine Emmy Awards for his work as a producer and video presenter at NBC, The Discovery Channel, and broadcast stations in San Francisco and Washington, DC. He retired from broadcasting and now works with international non-profits, producing videos, developing media strategies, and teaching journalism in developing countries.

 “Lives are being changed and communities transformed by World Health Partners,” said Tenenbaum.  “These Stories of Change will be told by the people who are harnessing available resources and technology to create sustainable, accessible local healthcare centers. I’m excited to be working side-by-side with the WHP team in bringing to life the successes, the challenges and the opportunities in offering basic healthcare in poor and underserved communities.”

Working with the WHP team, Tenenbaum will create a short documentary film on how WHP’s approach to building healthcare networks with existing human and technology resources makes it easier for people to get needed, often lifesaving, healthcare. The video will share stories from the perspective of patients, local entrepreneurs/ healthcare workers, and families to illustrate how the WHP model works at many levels to drive community change.

Tenenbaum will also help build a bank of professional photography that captures how local entrepreneurs are delivering healthcare advice, services, and referrals in underserved rural communities of India and Kenya.

Since 2009, WHP has worked to bring healthcare within a walkable distance for communities in the developing world. WHP identifies and harnesses existing resources to construct a service delivery channel and uses widely available technologies, such as mobile phones, to aid in service delivery and communications and referrals. While most of its work has been through women entrepreneurs facilitating medical consultations with remote doctors, WHP is increasingly forging relationships with governments to combine the people skills of the private sector with the medical skills of the public sector.

For more information, contact Rebecca Fishman Goldberg at


World Health Partners Begins Training Entrepreneurs in Rural Kenya to Offer Basic Healthcare Enabled by Mobile Phones

June 9, 2015, Homa Bay, Kenya: Last week, World Health Partners (WHP) began training ten local entrepreneurs—six of them women—to use a special, mobile phone-enabled device developed by WHP to connect rural communities and doctors far away through a telemedicine-linked Sky network in Western Kenya.

In collaboration with the Homa Bay County government, World Health Partners is training ten local entrepreneurs to use a mobile phone-enabled device to connect to a telemedicine healthcare network that is serving rural Kenya.  

The entrepreneurs are being trained to use basic SIM card-powered cellphones to offer community members a way to share vital medical information with network doctors. The network is set up using a device that activates with the same SIM card used by phones and sends blood pressure and pulse readings, stethoscope sounds, cardiac signals, and temperature via mobile phones.

Doctors can then advise patients and community health workers on the best course of action, including whether treatment or lab work is advised or whether the patient needs to be referred to a higher-level healthcare facility.

“The aim is to harness the entrepreneurial energies and social relationships that are naturally inlaid in village communities and combine them with the medical skills ‘imported’ through simple technologies to deliver much needed primary health care in rural Kenya,” said Gopi Gopalakrishnan, WHP President and Founder.

Local entrepreneurs are making an upfront investment of up to $1000 USD, which they have raised on their own. They will then offer mobile health consultations with participating doctors to community members on a commercial basis to recoup their investments.

“While the services are delivered on a commercial basis now, the same structure can be used to reach poor patients with subsidized services in the time to come,” said Akhilesh Sharma, technical advisor to the project.

WHP, a non-profit organization that is mandated to deliver services to rural and underserved communities in the developing world, is managing the backend of the telemedicine network. The Western Kenya Sky network is modeled on successful work WHP has done in India to develop technologies and management systems, which have networked close to 12,000 village healthcare providers with more highly trained medical professionals.

“The training of these ten entrepreneurs is just the beginning for us, with 15 more joining the next batch soon. All the participants are from some of the most rural parts of Homa Bay where getting basic health care is a struggle,” said Dollina Odera, the program lead of WHP in Kenya. “WHP has also initiated discussions to use similar technologies to strengthen the public sector delivery systems,” said Odera.

Last week’s training kicks off the work outlined under a formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) WHP signed with Homa Bay County officials in April to launch a Sky Network there to deliver more healthcare services in rural communities.

The Homa Bay County Sky Network will build on the work WHP has already done in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India. In these areas, WHP has offered more than 150,000 teleconsultations, largely for primary care. Sky Network providers in India offer family planning services, tuberculosis care, and child health services for illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea.

Last year, WHP launched its first Sky Network in Kenya in Kisumu and Siaya counties in partnership with Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET). So far, they have recruited over 90 community healthcare providers and offered over 1,000 teleconsultations. Work outlined under the new MOU with Homa Bay County will expand these numbers significantly.

About World Health Partners

World Health Partners (WHP) is an international nonprofit organization founded with the mission of bringing better healthcare within walkable distance for underserved communities around the world. Leveraging existing social and economic infrastructure paired with information, communication and health technologies, WHP establishes large-scale, cost-effective health service networks. Since 2008, WHP has been operating a social franchise network on scale in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in India. The network has provided more than 125,000 teleconsultations, largely for primary care, and has served millions of clients with targeted services and product distribution for family planning, maternal health, tuberculosis, and childhood illnesses. For more information, please visit


From slum minivan to major maternity facility

From a minivan packed with maternity supplies at a church in Githurai and Mwiki estates four years ago, one health facility is now providing modern maternity services to hundreds of women in Nairobi’s poorer neighborhoods. Jacaranda Health Maternity hospital now exemplifies the rosy story of many Kenyan private health facilities that are thriving when most other sectors of the economy are floundering.

It was officially opened last week by former health minister Beth Mugo, now a nominated senator.

Chief medical officer at the facility, Faith Muigai, say they now have a 10-bed birthing centre off the eastern bypass and a nine-bed birthing facility in Kahawa West, off Kamiti road.

Muigai, a co-founder of the two institutions, says they offer a broader scope of services that include maternal, newborn and child health services. “We firmly believe in equity regardless of one social economic status, the equity of care provided is one of high standard and well compromised,” Muigai told the Star.

Beth Mugo, during the opening, said the majority of maternal deaths in Kenya are preventable through high quality care.  “The causes include severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy and complications from delivery,” she said.

Muigai says dignity is prioritised in the two hospitals opened last week. She says every mother should experience high standards regardless of their economic status. This includes the “Mama Njoki who sells mbogas along Kamiti road or Lucy who has a small duka and sells household supplies to her locals.” She says the Jacaranda health team received support from the Ministry of Health and county leadership in the design and implementation of the facilities. “We have collaborated and they have provided educational opportunities to our health professionals,” Muingai said.

She says the founders plan to establish another hospital, out of Nairobi County. Muigai says in four  years, the Jacaranda team has seen more than 10,000 women and 4,000 children, through direct service delivery at the mobile facilities as well as outreach efforts.

She says her team has in the past participated in national level activities such as the Beyond Zero campaign by the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.


Maternal hospital opened targeting low income women

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 2 – If you are a woman who lives in urban areas and works as a domestic help, vegetable seller, factory worker or a shop owner, and you are busy and cost-conscious, a hospital has been opened in Kahawa West to cater to your reproductive health, especially maternal care.

The newly opened Jacaranda Maternity Hospital has been set up to provide women at the grassroots level with quality maternal services that are affordable.

“Our clients are first-time mother and women who have children. They are the newborns who deserve a warm, welcoming, healthy start to life. They are babies who need immunizations and consistent health care to ensure they are growing into healthy children,” Faith Muigai, the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Jacaranda Health said during the launch.

Mothers will therefore part with Sh9,000 for normal delivery at the hospital while those who need Caesarean section will part with Sh35,000.

Additionally, the hospital will offer antenatal care and postnatal care among other pregnancy related problems. The hospital will also provide treatment mothers and children with services such as basic paediatric and family planning.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Senator Beth Mugo applauded the hospital’s decision to cater to women and children’s health.

“As a mother and woman leader, I am committed to continue advocating for the right of women as well as adequate resource allocations in the health sector because I have a duty to influence the health of the people especially mothers and children. I therefore congratulate Jacaranda for making a contribution towards the improvement of health in the society,” Mugo said.

With a nursing background and as a woman, Muigai knows firsthand the challenges that to-be mothers, new mother and newborns face; which was her primary motivation for opening the hospital.

“I was fortunate to live abroad for eighteen years. When I came back, I discovered that women, who were hardworking and more often the primary breadwinners of their families, were not bringing life into the world in a dignified manner. Mothers are still dying while giving birth, this was the reason why I chose to do this,” said Muigai.

The case is not isolate to Kenya alone. Statistics submitted by Jacaranda show that across Africa, 250,000 women and over one million children die in childbirth with an astounding ninety nine percent of these being from sub-Saharan Africa.

Further, one in every 39 women die during child bearing in Kenya. This is a far outcry when compared to only one woman dying out of three thousand seven hundred in the US.

“For every woman who dies in childbirth, approximately twenty more suffer from injury, infection or disease. That is another ten million every year.”

Efforts such as those of First Lady Margaret Kenyatta have however been impactful on countering these statistics. Her Beyond Zero Campaign has been providing mobile maternal clinics to counties across the country to provide safe delivery.

But these efforts are yet to beat the challenges on the ground. According to Jacaranda Health, most low-income women deliver children at home or in underequipped public facilities – run mainly by the government – characterised by shared postpartum beds, extremely low staff-to-patient ratios, lack of lifesaving drugs among other shortcomings.

“This is the reason why we have launched a facility that is small, personalized and build and run with patients at the core,” Muigai said.

Its business model is also a winning one. Upon striking a public private partnership with USAID, the hospital has been able to rise to its feet; a move Mugo commended.

“The government cannot solve all the health challenges this country faces alone. We are calling onto private investors to partner with the government and launch projects such as this one,” she said.

The hospital is the second following a similar successful launch of Jacaranda Maternal Hospital in Ruiru.