State ex­pands free ma­ter­nity ser­vices

Mailu says there was a 35% in­crease in the num­ber of de­liv­er­ies in pub­lic hos­pi­tals when the pro­gramme was in­tro­duced in 2013

The Star (Kenya) - - News - RHODA OD­HI­AMBO @Od­hi­amboRhoda

The govern­ment has ex­panded free ma­ter­nity ser­vices through the Linda Mama ini­tia­tive.

Ex­pec­tant women will ac­cess post­na­tal and an­te­na­tal clin­ics and one-year-long child health ser­vices in pub­lic and se­lected pri­vate hos­pi­tals.

Some 1,000 faith-based or­gan­i­sa­tions are tak­ing part in this ini­tia­tive, tar­get­ing 400,000 women, who de­liver at home.

They will also get screen­ing for dis­eases, im­mu­ni­sa­tion for the in­fants, emer­gency health ser­vices for com­pli­ca­tions and out­pa­tient health care for in­fants at treat­ment and child wel­fare clin­ics.

“When Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta launched the free ma­ter­nity pro­gramme in 2013, there was a 35 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of de­liv­er­ies in pub­lic health hos­pi­tals. It is my prayer that this ini­tia­tive will en­able the mother and the child have ac­cess to qual­ity health at no cost,” Health CS Cleopa Mailu said.

He said the govern­ment has spent Sh9 bil­lion in the free ma­ter­nity pro­gramme in the three years.

“Even though we have made some gains in the free ma­ter­nity pro­gramme, a lot more needs to be done to en­sure the num­ber drops to zero,” Mailu said.

The Na­tional Hospi­tal In­surance Fund will cater for all the costs.

NHIF chair­man Mo­hamed Mo­hamud said they have also re­moved the ac­cred­i­ta­tion fees of Sh50,000 and Sh100,000 for pub­lic and pri­vate fa­cil­i­ties, re­spec­tively.

“This will en­sure free ma­ter­nity ser­vices are ac­ces­si­ble by all,” he said.

Ex­pec­tant mothers can get the Linda Mama card at any NHIF of­fice, all pub­lic hos­pi­tals, se­lected pri­vate hos­pi­tals, faith-based or­gan­i­sa­tions and at Huduma Cen­tres.

Those un­able to visit the fa­cil­i­ties can get it by di­al­ing *263# on their phones and fill­ing in the de­tails.

Last month, the coun­ties re­ceived Sh898 mil­lion for the free ma­ter­nity pro­gramme for the first quar­ter of the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year.

PSCU

First Lady Mar­garet Keny­atta when she toured Mu­rang’a County Re­fer­ral Hospi­tal on Au­gust 17/

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