August 16th 2017

Society / Health & Science

Government pumps in Sh4.2 billion to expand free maternal care

“The launch marks a great step to expand universal coverage by giving women greater access and the opportunity to make choices of the facilities that they wish to seek maternal services from,” added Dr Mwenda.

By Soilan Kenanaskenana@kenyafreepress.comTuesday, 18 Oct 2016 20:35 EAT

The government has today announced the allocation of Sh4.2 billion for the expansion of free maternity services programme at public hospitals that was launched three years ago. The increased funding is to enable expectant women enjoy free maternity services in faith-based institutions.

The programme christened ‘Linda Mama’ aims at improving maternal care in Kenya by ensuring that women and newborns are safe, according to the Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu.

The minister said that the programme aims at enabling expectant mothers to deliver in safe environs and under the care of medical experts. He said the government will cover four antenatal check-ups, routine blood, delivery and postnatal check-ups, and immunizations for children under the programme. Free maternity will be covered under the National Health Insurance Fund and it will majorly target expectant women from poor backgrounds.

Speaking at the launch, Ms Rahab Muiu, chairlady of the national women's movement Maendeleo ya Wanawake, pointed out the benefits of programme. She advised women to plan their parenting and reduce the rate of child birth. “Women are able to visit health institutions for maternity services. This has and will continue to significantly reduce maternal and paternal fraternities,” said Ms Muiu.

On behalf of the faith-based organizations, Dr Mwenda pointed out that medical education for doctors is provided for by their organization. “The launch marks a great step to expand universal coverage by giving women greater access and the opportunity to make choices of the facilities that they wish to seek  maternal services from,” added Dr Mwenda.

Faith-based programmes will provide 1000 health facilities that will be available for the free maternal services. The faith-based will claim remunerations through the Ministry of Health as they work on registering them to the NHIF system.

“The network of the faith and religious communities in this country will also actively engage and support  our women to register for the Linda Mama programme,” said Dr Mwenda during the launch.

The expanded programme will ensure efficiency because the government receives money for supporting women from various institutions and donors. Each woman will receive approximately 6000 in their NHIF cards that will be used at health facilities.

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