Kenyan medic wins prestigious WHO global award
Irene Githinji @gitshee
An initiative that Jemimah Kariuki started last year to assist pregnant women during curfew hours in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic has received international recognition.
Dr Kariuki, a young Kenyan doctor, has been named the winner of World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General’s Award for Global Health 2021 for her role in advancing maternal health, through an initiative she founded known as Wheels for Life.
“Congratulations to Kariuki, recipient of the WHO Director-General’s Award for Global Health 2021 in recognition of your contribution to advancing global health,” WHO posted on its twitter account.
Kariuki is currently undertaking a post-graduate course in obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Nairobi.
“Wheels for Life was a project I founded in response to cries from women who I noted were dying from preventable causes or were coming with complications at the peak of the pandemic because they lacked the means to reach hospitals, especially during the curfew hours imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19,” she said while accepting the award via a video conference on Monday.
The Wheels for Life toll free number 1196 was launched on April 28 last year and in a month’s time, they had received more than 4,000 calls and about 400 women had received the doctors’ assistance.
However, since its inception to date, she said they have been able to respond to calls of 100,000 pregnant women and 98 per cent receiving the help they needed successfully.
About 4,100 mothers have so far been assisted, 945 cabs dispatched and 757 emergency ambulance trips made.
In November last year, Kariuki was also recognised in the BBC’s 100 women of 2020 for the sacrifices they made to help others.