Ministry extends free maternal care plan to private hospitals

Ministry extends free maternal care plan to private hospitals

The government has expanded the free maternal healthcare programme introduced by President Uhuru Kenyatta three years ago to 700 faith-based hospitals and about 2,000 selected private hospitals.

The programme, Linda Mama, Boresha Jamii, is meant to provide cover for mothers for four visits of antenatal care, normal, caesarean section delivery and post-natal care for up to one year under the National Health Insurance Fund.

According to a report  released by the Health ministry, about 1.6 million women give birth every year with 1 million delivering in public hospitals and  200,000 in private hospitals.

The report revealed that about 400,000 women give birth under unprofessional care, leading to a high maternal mortality.

Speaking at the launch of the programme at Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu said Linda Mama is aimed at helping the 400,000 women who are still under unprofessional maternal care to access the health facilities for free.

“Prioritizing the survival and health of women and girls requires recognition of their high value within the society. The launch gives our women the opportunity to make a free choice of facilities in which they would like to give birth,” Dr Mailu added.

Dr Mailu said that the ministry would ensure that all women know about the expanded services through awareness programmes.

Speaking for faith-based hospitals,  the Christian Health Association of Kenya general secretary Samuel Mwenda urged women to register for the programme.

The programme has been allocated Kshs5.4 billion up from the Ksh4.2 billion in the current financial year and is set to kick off from January next year.

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Story By Chebet Birir
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