Together Against Child Mortality: Novartis and Save the Children Launch Health Project in the Slums of Nairobi


  • Novartis partners with Save the Children to launch first common health project in Kenya
  • First step in the collaboration will focus on providing affordable and effective healthcare to the most deprived children in Kenya
  • Project aims to tackle the problem of under-five child mortality through treatment of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition
BASEL, SWITZERLAND, August 2, 2021  – Novartis and children’s rights organization Save the Children are launching their first common health project tackling child mortality in Kenya’s Kibera and Mathare slums. This is a first step in their collaboration with the objective of providing affordable and effective healthcare to the most deprived children in Kenya. The project will help improve the case management of common childhood diseases like pneumonia through trainings of community health volunteers in Nairobi.

Dr. Lutz Hegemann, Group Head of Corporate Affairs and Global Health at Novartis says: “Novartis is committed to delivering sustainable healthcare solutions to help transform the lives and health of underserved populations. We are excited to join forces with Save the Children to help reduce the number of children under the age of 5 dying from preventable and treatable diseases.”

Adrian Förster, CEO of Save the Children Switzerland says: “This project is the start of a powerful partnership that will improve the living conditions of the most deprived children. We see that high-density urban centres are very challenging for children and their ability to grow up healthy. We are very happy to join our expertise and our capacity with Novartis to improve the access to medical treatment and the health of children in this particular context.”

The planned health project is located in Kenya’s urban slums including Kibera and Mathare in Nairobi County and aims to improve access to medical support. Local community and health volunteers are trained to diagnose and treat common diseases in children. Malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition cause the majority of preventable deaths among children under the age of five. Through the project, Novartis and Save the Children aim at tackling under five mortality and improving support for the most deprived children in urban, high-density centres.

Mathare and Kibera are home to thousands of the urban poor, living in deprived sanitary conditions and inadequate shelter. Inhabitants of these slums lack access to basic water and sanitation, paucity of health care facilities and vulnerability in getting infectious diseases. This holistic program, targeting the main causes of morbidity and mortality amongst children, will go a long way in reducing the incidence of communicable diseases. The project also seeks to improve the social economic conditions of the communities, through timely response, accessing care and economic empowerment through a community savings scheme. Health education, prevention of disease and early treatment are some of the key interventions that will bring change in the community. This program supplements what other organizations are doing to improve the lives of the urban poor.