Innovating to Save Women’s Lives

Social enterprise Jacaranda Health commits to provide high-quality, low-cost maternal healthcare in Kenya
Aug 3, 2016 12:00 AM ET

Nairobi, August 3, 2016 /3BL Media/ – Kenya-based Jacaranda Health has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a pledge to provide 50,250 low-income women and children with high-quality maternal and child health care at its maternity hospitals by the end of 2019. The company has also committed to open two more maternity hospitals in 2018 and pilot innovative healthcare delivery models in 25 public health facilities to reach 250,000 additional women and children.

The BCtA is a global initiative that aims to support private sector efforts to fight poverty through its core business. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Every day, approximately 800 women around the world die from preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth – 99 percent of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. While in developed countries, a woman’s risk from dying in childbirth is 1 in 3,700; in sub-Saharan Africa, it is 1 in 39. The majority of these deaths are from problems like high-blood pressure during pregnancy and complications from delivery, which can be prevented with high-quality care.

Surveyed women in Kenya have indicated that they do not seek care as often as they should because of bad experiences and disrespect. While Kenya’s Government has mandated free maternity care, public clinics are overcrowded and unhygienic. Wait times are long, care is rushed and emergencies often go unnoticed.

Jacaranda Health is bringing approaches and tools used by innovative health networks in developed countries into low-income communities. Its inclusive model leverages Kenya’s high rate of mobile phone use: three out of four Kenyans have mobile phones, which are used for a variety of purposes, including money transfer.

At its maternity hospitals, the company uses a mobile phone system to input client data and track health trends. When clients go home, they receive customized health tips and scheduling reminders via SMS. The company also distributes patient satisfaction surveys through mobile phones and communicates with clients through a 24-hour hotline.

“In Kenya, quality of care remains a big barrier to improving health outcomes”, said Nick Pearson, Jacaranda’s Executive Director. “We need to make sure new mothers can access low-cost, quality health services right where they live. Jacaranda is innovating new ways to do this, and we are pleased to be recognized by the Business Call to Action”

In addition, Jacaranda has innovated pre-payment saving options to assist the clients through the birth-planning process to save for a delivery, which usually costs around US$90 – or one tenth the cost at a typical private maternity hospital. Through its mobile health network and maternity hospitals, over 20,000 women and children have received care, and over 2,000 healthy babies have been delivered to date.

“Jacaranda is serving a critical population: hard-working women who must balance the demands of pregnancy with livelihoods and families,” said Paula Pelaez, BCtA’s Programme Manager. “By innovating a new model of high-quality, affordable maternal care, Jacaranda Health is empowering women to take care into their own hands – and saving their lives.”

In the next two years, the company aims to scale up from 2 to 4 facilities, which will be used as hubs for innovating a broader range of inclusive maternity services and technologies. In order to reach scale, the company is seeking to demonstrate a lightweight and scalable model for quality improvement in Kenya’s public facilities. By forging new partnerships and continuously innovating, the company aims to transform maternal care in Kenya’s public facilities while building a sustainable community of quality practice.

For further information:

Business Call to Action: Tatiana Bessarabova at

Jacaranda Health: Faith Muigai, Chief Medical Officer at

Membership in the Business Call to Action does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.

About the Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)UK Department for International DevelopmentUS Agency for International Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat. For more information, please visit or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.

About Jacaranda Health: Founded in 2011, Jacaranda is an award-winning social enterprise that currently operates two high-quality, low-cost maternity hospitals in Nairobi, Kenya. The company is also building partnerships among other maternal health providers in Kenya to set new standards of care, invest in growing a strong health workforce and create policy change. Jacaranda’s staff is made up of professionals from diverse backgrounds in business and healthcare, supported by a network of advisors around the globe. They share a common belief in reducing maternal and infant mortality through ambitious action and smarter, integrated solutions. For more information about Jacaranda Health, visit