Philips Foundation marks five years of improving access to maternal care in Sub-Saharan Africa and sets out future plans

November 1, 2023

Reaching 15 million people in the region in 2022 alone [1], the foundation sets out plans to ramp up collaboration with social entrepreneurs

Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Nairobi, Kenya – Philips Foundation, with its mission to provide access to quality healthcare for 100 million people a year by 2030, reports today on the significant progress made in improving access to maternal healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over five years across five distinct projects, Philips Foundation has made substantial progress through unique collaborations, improving access to maternal care for 15 million people in 2022 alone [1]. This week, at a partner meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, the foundation set out plans to ramp up its partnerships with social entrepreneurs in the region.

“From building health awareness to providing high-quality healthcare, Philips Foundation’s journey with its strategic partners in maternal health for Sub-Saharan Africa is having a significant impact,” Margot Cooijmans, Director of the Philips Foundation, says. “Each part of our programs has been designed with thought and care, offering healthcare workers and patients a livelihood by bringing essential services to their communities. By combining our efforts with innovative social enterprises, we can provide continuity of quality healthcare, leverage local innovations and ensure even more long-term, sustainable impact.”

The increased focus on collaboration with social entrepreneurs comes after initial successes since the foundation launched the scheme in 2021. Partnerships with Access Afya, GOAL 3, Ilara Health, and Penda Health are all rooted in the African healthcare system that delivers maternal and child healthcare services, powered by locally-enabled innovation.

Key Philips Foundation programs that are improving access to maternal healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa:

Enhancing access to obstetric ultrasound services – In Kenya, Philips Foundation partnered with Aga Khan University to train midwives, equip health centers, and enhance communication, resulting in improved antenatal experiences and early detection of at-risk pregnancies. In Uganda, the foundation supported Imaging the World Africa in training over 250 healthcare professionals, helping to identify life-threatening complications.

Award-winning tool to promote health awareness and early detection – In order to encourage shifts in behavior related to pregnancy risks within underserved communities, Philips Foundation, alongside Philips Design and the ICRC, developed easy-to-understand referral cards for high-risk pregnancies. The award-winning referral cards [3] have demonstrated remarkable efficacy in boosting healthcare-seeking behavior among high-risk women residing in socio-cultural settings characterized by low literacy rates, leading to increased utilization of healthcare services.

Improving service readiness for maternity care – Together with the Kenya Ministry of Health to amplify medical equipment’s availability and improved functionality, Philips Foundation partnered with UNICEF to introduce a digital tool to supervise and upkeep medical equipment in 100 healthcare facilities. The realization of the project has simplified the process of managing medical equipment, giving facility managers the power to track the status of equipment proficiently, plan timely maintenance, and improve the allocation of resources, thereby ensuring the uninterrupted provision of maternity care.

More information on these programs can be found in this backgrounder.

[1] This impact metric does not include direct impact through the provided health solutions but includes the number of people that have gained access to those services, when needed, reached through collaborations with the mentioned partners. The access to care metric is documented and defined per project as a tangible improvement of access to healthcare services relevant to those who are counted.
[2] WHO (2023). Maternal mortality
[3] The design for the high-risk pregnancy cards has won as many as 10 awards spread across the US, UK, and Germany, including awards at Fast Company (2x) and DMI Design Value Awards. Just recently, it won the Grand Prix and Gold Award at the DBA Design for Effectiveness Awards 2023.

For further information, please contact:

Yannick Eshuijs
Philips Foundation
Tel.: +31 6 1852 6633

About Philips Foundation

Philips Foundation is a registered non-profit organization established in 2014 – with a mission to provide access to quality healthcare for underserved communities across the globe. By leveraging Philips’ capabilities and combining them with the experience and expertise of non-governmental organizations and other community-focused and impact-driven enterprises, Philips Foundation helps create innovative pathways to open up affordable healthcare for communities most in need. By also partnering with innovative social entrepreneurs rooted in the local ecosystem, Philips Foundation aims to increase access to healthcare for 100 million people a year by 2030. More information can be found at


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