Counties get Sh898m free maternity cash
Health PS Nicholas Muraguri says early disbursement follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to cushion the counties
County governments have received Sh898 million for the free maternity programme for the first quarter of the 2016-17 financial year. This is the first time they have received the money in advance.
Health PS Nicholas Muraguri said the early disbursement follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to cushion counties from the financial costs of the programme.
Previously, the first disbursement would be made around November after the counties submitted their list of deliveries. The funds will cover the 183,353 deliveries expected until the end of this month. A bigger percentage of the funds will go to counties in Western, Nakuru and Nairobi, where the number of deliveries is higher.
Muraguri said the programme has improved access to skilled birth attendants and significantly reduced maternal and child deaths. “Before the launch of the Free Maternity Care Programme, only 40 per cent of our women were delivering in health facilities. Today, more than 70 per cent access and use these services,” he said.
Muraguri said the transfer of the programme to the National Hospital Insurance Fund will be delayed because many low-level county facilities are not registered with the national fund.
All the one million women who will benefit every year also need to be enrolled with NHIF in advance.
Health PS Nicholas Muraguri and Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony with a newborn at the Kapkatet Hospital in Buret subcounty on April 12