City Dispatches: Kumasi, Ghana
Medical professionals at seven health facilities in Kumasi, Ghana are now receiving training in the use of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Helping Babies Breathe™ protocol and other infant care techniques. These trainings, facilitated by MCI Regional Coordinator for West Africa Abenaa Akuamoa-Boateng and taking place through March, build on a 2010 pilot program for 120 medical professionals supported by Johnson & Johnson that took place at the two Kumasi health facilities, Suntreso Government Hospital and Kumasi South Hospital, where the Government of Israel, in collaboration with MCI, had earlier designed and set up life-saving Mother-Baby Units. The successful 2010 pilot, which also included the provision of infant care information to more than 1,500 mother-baby pairs, realized a 3.4 percent increase in neonatal survival, with 68 newborns resuscitated out of a total of 2,004 live births.
Staff at Suntreso and Kumasi South are now receiving a one-day refresher training, while staff at Kumasi’s other five facilities, Maternal and Child Health Hospital, SDA Hospital, Manhyia Government Hospital, Tafo Government Hospital and KNUST Hospital, are participating in the full three-day training. Seasoned Kumasi expert practitioners, therefore, are now teaching their peers how to identify at-risk newborns and to provide improved ventilation techniques, among the many practices designed to improve infant survival.
City Dispatches: Kisumu, Kenya
Nearly 30 faculty and students from Columbia’s Urban Design Lab (UDL) recently traveled to Kisumu, Kenya, where they conducted field studies in Manyatta, one of Kisumu’s largest and most challenging informal settlements. This year’s focus on Kisumu marks the fourth straight collaboration between MCI and UDL, a joint program of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Earth Institute, each of which has resulted in a beautiful volume full of innovative urban design proposals, including two for Kumasi and one for Accra.
Invited by the City of Kisumu, MCI and the Dutch organization CORDAID, MCI’s longtime partner in Kisumu, this year’s work in Manyatta, facilitated by MCI Social Sector and Public Health Specialists, Mr. Zach Okoth and Ms. Beldina Opiyo-Omolo, is led by UDL Director Richard Plunz, Adjunct Professor and MCI Advisory Board member Geeta Mehta and UDL Profs. Victor Body-Lawson, Petra Kempf and Kate Orff and includes young practicing architects hailing from Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Peru, Korea, China, France and the U.S. Six UDL teams are now working round the clock to develop efficient infrastructure upgrades together with sustainable housing, sanitation, income- and energy-generating prototypes for the Manyatta neighborhood.
MCI has worked in Manyatta for a number of years, most recently training Community Health Workers from the community, schoolgirls in literacy and advocacy skills, and women in group savings and lending techniques. With the welcome addition of the brilliant UDL architects, MCI is hopeful that local officials and the many development organizations working to improve the quality of life for Manyatta residents will utilize and build some of the practical, yet imaginative solutions that UDL, now back in New York, is busy researching and designing.