Duke’s Entrepreneurial Spirit: Health Care For Kenyan Women


This is Duke University. Nairobi is the capital of Kenya, in the heart sub-saharan Africa. Despite being the region’s business capital Nairobi lacks quality maternal health care
in many of its neighborhoods. This summer I worked in Nairobi at a Duke
social entrepreneurship program to address some of these issues. Maternal health care is a big challenge in sub-saharan Africa where more than 250,000 babies and mothers die during pregnancy every year. In Kenya, government hospitals provide free maternal health care, but limited resources
result in overcrowding and poor service. My name is Maureen and I’m 22 years old. I am 8 months pregnant and I have one child. Many women like Maureen prefer to opt out of the government system and deliver their babies at home. Even if I can go to the hospital for free, I cannot–
I am afraid because they are abusing customers. Jacaranda provides quality maternal health
and family planning services to women whose daily income is typically two to three dollars a day–women just like Maureen. Having earned my MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, I helped Jacaranda’s team analyze and revise their existing strategy for pricing and helped them look at new services to help them become more financially sustainable. This summer was a great opportunity to use my business skills in an entrepreneurial way. Hopefully I made a difference for Maureen, or others just like her. My time in Africa has inspired me to continue to use my business skills for good.

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