In Summary
  • Emergency treatment is the provision of initial resuscitation, stabilisation, and treatment to critically ill and injured patients, and delivery of those patients to the best available definitive care, regardless of their ability to pay.
  • The mapped hospitals in all the 47 counties can be found in searches online for 'emergency centre near me'.
  • In the past, challenges in accident emergency cases have included lack of information on the locations and services offered, as well as the unavailability of facilities' phone numbers.
  • The service comes at a time when smartphone mobile penetration in Kenya has crossed the 50 percent population mark.

Kenyans will have an easier time accessing emergency medical care in 178 public health facilities across the country, thanks to Google Maps.

Emergency treatment, according to the African Federation for Emergency Medicine, is the provision of initial resuscitation, stabilisation, and treatment to critically ill and injured patients, and delivery of those patients to the best available definitive care, regardless of their ability to pay.

To improve access to these services, Google partnered with Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation and the Health ministry, an initiative that has seen 113 public hospitals on roads without names given addresses on Google Maps.

They have also been given a free website through Google's Plus Codes Project.

24 HOURS

The mapped hospitals in all the 47 counties can be found in searches online for 'emergency centre near me'.

They all operate round-the-clock and have the capacity to carry out surgical, medical emergencies as they have functional theatres and other provisions.

“We are planning to bring about 220 public-, mission- and faith-based hospitals on board in all the 47 counties. We have mapped 178 hospitals in 41 counties so far. We will have [covered] the remaining six counties by the end of the year,” said Claude Blatter, the Africa lead for Google My Business.

“What this means is that Kenyans, regardless of where the emergency finds them, can 'google' 'emergency centre near me'. The map will direct you to the hospital near you within an hour so that you get help as fast as possible.”

In the past, challenges in accident emergency cases have included lack of information on the locations and services offered, as well as the unavailability of facilities' phone numbers.

“For hospitals without directions or where roads are inaccessible, we have developed the plus code which when searched will locate them,” Mr Blatter said.

SMARTPHONES

The service comes at a time when smartphone mobile penetration in Kenya has crossed the 50 percent population mark.

This was as at September 2018, when nearly 42 million Kenyans could access the internet using their mobile phones, according to the Communications Authority.

“The entry of more affordable smartphones and cheaper mobile data plans were the primary drivers of these trends," Mr Blatter said.

“Last year between July and August, searches on Google for “emergency services” rose by 49 percent in Kenya, with 72 percent of the searches [being on] mobile devices and 25 percent on computers," he said.

"These insights were an eye-opener on the importance of facilitating access to emergency information and services using our Search and Maps platforms. This is in line with our mission of making locally relevant information easily available online."

Comparative data by the Google revealed that between March 2018 and March 2019, there was a 250 percent increase in total searches on Google Search and Maps for the 178 public health facilities, courtesy of the partnership.

In the same period, there was a 32 percent increase in visibility on Google Search of the mapped facilities, as well as a 38 percent increase in direction requests to public health facilities with emergency centres. 

In the same period, there was also a 177 per cent increase in the number of phone calls to the mapped public health facilities with emergency centres.

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