SportPesa Steps in to Help the Government Achieve Affordable Healthcare for All

By Korir Isaac / Published October 15, 2021 | 8:30 am




KEY POINTS

There have been various calls for multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral partnerships to help catalyze investments and innovations in the health sector.


SportPesa maternal health

When President Uhuru Kenyatta assumed office for his second term in 2017, he announced a four-pillar strategy aimed at driving his developmental agenda.

One of the strategies was aimed at achieving universal and affordable healthcare for all. But to date, there is negligible progress, and almost nothing to write home about.

Over 80 percent of Kenyans do not have any form of health insurance even as the country is geared towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

There have been various calls for multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral partnerships to help catalyze investments and innovations in the health sector.

Innovative health financing, which involves the mixing or blending of two or more sources to fund a program or activity has proved successful across the globe. Some of the private sector player have stepped in to aid the government in meeting its goals. A good example is SportPesa.

In an interview with Soko Directory, SportPesa, the leading sports betting firm in Kenya, noted that earlier in the year, they identified key areas that needed strong support with Maternal Health Care, Period Poverty, and Sports being the pillars.

The company’s current support policy hinges on maternal healthcare, which is delivered through infrastructure and medical equipment.

Currently, statistics in Kenya show a mortality rate of 362 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and an infant mortality rate of 31 deaths per 1,000 live births. This worrying state necessitates urgent support from various players in the public and private sectors.

“It is quite unfortunate that women have to walk for long distances to deliver safely, and in some areas, the health facilities can’t even guarantee this due to lack of proper facilities. It is, for this reason, that we decided to focus our CSR support on maternal healthcare,” said Sportpesa in an email statement.

Since March 2021, SportPesa has delivered much-needed assistance to the maternal health units of 20 hospitals in Bomet, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Nairobi, and Kiambu counties.

Some of the beneficiary hospitals include Ndarawetta Health Centre, Mikinduri Sub County Hospital. Riruta Health Centre, Boito Dispensary, Longisa County Referral, PCEA Chogoria Mission Hospital, Lunga Lunga Health Centre among others.

“We continue to support community health facilities to ensure women have the best health care when giving birth and for their children. Our support includes the provision of equipment in facilities which are mainly run by counties or those that are community-based,” said Lola Okulo, Assistant Marketing Manager, SportPesa.

“Our support also extends to menstrual hygiene/period poverty, where we work with established organizations looking to address such issues reaching thousands of girls across the country,” she added.

Previously, SportPesa teamed up with SisterSpeaks’ Heels4Pads project where they donated high heels in exchange or sold for pads to distribute to those in need and vulnerable to period poverty. It also directly donated cash towards purchasing more sanitary towels to cover the Heels4Pads programs in various schools where girls need support.

In other areas, particularly in sports, SportPesa is investing in the mental and physical well-being of Kenya’s former or retired sports stars. Through the latter, the company supports the Wazee Pamoja League which comprises 10 teams made up of retired football stars.

Some of these former stars include Mathew Ottamax, former AFC Leopards players Omar Shaban, Maurice Shikanda, and Ibrahim Shikanda, others are William Odidi, Collins Gatuso, and Isaiah Ougo.

According to SportPesa, the government cannot do everything on its own. The resources available are to be shared across many deserving sectors and that is where private sector support in key sectors such as health, education, and security becomes important.

By teaming up with public health facilities and donating key equipment in the healthcare industry, SportPesa is ensuring that Kenyans in various counties access such services at little or no cost at all. In maternal health, this means making hospital deliveries (which are safer) easier to access and affordable than risky home deliveries.

SportPesa’s biggest partners have been the county governments and local communities and most of its CSR initiatives are carried out through the SportPesa Foundation

The company has expanded its coverage of CSR programs from primarily sports-based community projects to the health sector.

“It is a long-term strategy because we have not yet reached even half of what we intend to do in this area. Our goal is to support the maternal health units of highly-needy public hospitals in all the 47 counties,” said SportPesa.

Apart from maternal, menstrual, and physical/mental health, SportPesa has also embarked on community-based sports programs such as the refurbishment of the Umoja Boxing and Recreation Centre and the Kits for Africa project, which benefitted over 5000 teams with football gear and training equipment. It recently also made a three-year sponsorship to Muranga Sports Academy Limited (M-SEAL), to help them achieve their dream of playing in the national league.





About Korir Isaac

A creative, tenacious, and passionate journalist with impeccable ethics and a nose for anticipated and spontaneous news. He may not say it, but he sure can make one hell of a story.

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