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