Baby Boxes Initiative to Provide Mothers in Slums of Nairobi with Safe Basics

Baby boxes initiative is a project that replicates Finland’s baby boxes that have been in existence for 75 years. This was a package given to mothers of newborns in a bid to keep them safe from infant mortality. By showing up to receive the baby box, the mothers would easily access health monitoring. Upon reading an article about Finland’s baby boxes, Lucy Wambui from Kenya came up with the idea of providing the low-income mothers in Nairobi with such a package.

The initiative will play a role in ensuring that newborn mothers in the slums access post-natal services. It will also help monitor the welfare of the baby and the mother by exposing any infections they might contracted early enough for treatment. Since most of the mothers in the slums of Nairobi find it hard to access the healthcare of their babies, the baby boxes programs will be in the front line in supporting them. So far 483 baby boxes have been distributed to mothers. The best incentive in this initiative is that mothers are provided with information on how to safely handle a sleeping baby, and it also provides them with a comfortable sleeping place for the baby.

Reports of the baby boxes

The pilot program has worked so well in meeting the goals that its pioneers had in mind.

  • – Contrary to the little number of mothers who accessed postnatal health care services (15%), the number has increased to 86%.
  • – Of the total number of babies who received an assessment of the umbilical cord infections, 21% were treated with a life-threatening infection.
  • – Due to the urgency of the situation of the Kenyan mothers to collect the box, 98 babies infections were detected earlier to avoid them from succumbing to death.
  • – It’s worth-noting that umbilical cord infections contribute to 17% of infant deaths in Kenya.
  • – According to a report, 95% of mothers who collected the box are using it either during the day or at night.
  • – However, 93% keep the baby to sleep in the box during the day, and only 2% since medical practitioners in Kenya encourages mothers to co-sleep with their babies to allow for breastfeeding.
  • – The parents who were aware that the safest sleeping position for babies is on their back was only 7% before the program. But after the introduction of the box, 43% became aware.
  • – Also, 80% of the babies were exclusively breastfed, and the number of mothers and babies who slept under mosquito nets increased from 70% to 80%.
  • ”We initially registered 478 mothers, reserving 22 out of our 500 boxes in case any of the mothers had multiple births. This turned out to be prudent because nine mothers in the project had twins. Only one of these mums had a scan, and her scan was inaccurate. So none of those mothers knew they were expecting more than one baby,” said.
  • In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, showed a group of mothers, the prototype of the baby box. The mothers exclaimed that the box looked like a coffin. Therefore, the project heads had to find a cost-effective way of making attractive boxes that looked like baby cribs. This would improve the physical appearance of the box and make the project work. They, therefore, thought of a black and white painting. The boxes were printed and manufactured in Kenya.
  • “It has helped me a lot, especially the mosquito net preventing the diseases from mosquitoes,” Genitrix, mother of twins Ashley and Prince, said.
  • The beneficiaries of the boxes express a lot of gratitude; they can now keep their babies in a safe place during their clean up exercises during the day.


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