Linda Mama programme beneficiaries to access ante-natal care and post-natal care, says Health CS

Beneficiaries of the recently launched ‘Linda Mama, Boresha Jamii’ programme will be able to access services such as ante-natal care that includes preventive services; delivery services and post-natal care, Cabinet Secretary for Health Dr. Cleopa Mailu has confirmed. Other services include screening for diseases and immunisation for the early infants, emergency health services for complications and conditions, outpatient health care for infants at treatment and child welfare clinics.

The Government through the Ministry of Health yesterday launched the expanded free maternal care programme in a bid to achieve universal access to quality maternal healthcare as well as reduce maternal morbidity and mortality rates in the country, particularly in the rural areas.

Under the programme, all pregnant women can now access antenatal, delivery and postnatal care free of charge in all public, some faith based and private healthcare facilities nation-wide.

The programme comes hot on the heels of concerted efforts made by the National government, County government and health service providers in the past few years to improve the quality of maternal healthcare around the country.

While launching the programme, Dr. Mailu said that prioritizing the survival and health of women and girls requires recognition of their high value within the society.

“The launch of Linda Mama is a great step towards improving access and quality of maternal, new-born and child healthcare services for all Kenyans,” Dr. Mailu explained.

Linda Mama programme is a strategic effort made by the government to reduce the financial burden to families. It is also aimed at enhancing social protection to improve access to healthcare essential to achievement of Vision 2030 and Goal 3 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2015-2030,” the CS added.

“Maternal morbidity and mortality is one of the indicators of reproductive health status of the population. Efforts to reduce maternal deaths is a focal point of the current government’s agenda, international agreements and a priority for women’s rights and health groups throughout the world because maternal deaths are among life’s most tragic outcomes,” said Dr. Mailu.

The Cabinet Secretary said that maternal healthcare is a primary concern for the national government. As such, investing in maternal health is a wise health and economic policy decision that the government had to make. “Women are the sole income earners in nearly two thirds of all households in our country and across the globe. Investing in the health of pregnant women has a spill-over macro-economic effect to communities and to our economy,” said Dr. Mailu.

He disclosed that the programme will be realized in two phases running till June 2017. Beneficiaries under the first phase will access maternity services in 5,073 facilities across the country with the second phase commencing in February 2017 providing full benefits of the health services under the scheme with 6,566 health facilities providing Ante-natal Care, Delivery and Post-natal care.

The programme is a follow-up of the Free Maternity Care Programme that began in 2013 designed to reimburse public hospitals for costs incurred in the execution of health care services. Linda Mama is part of the government’s attempts to realize Kenya’s Health Policy 2014-2030 to attain the highest possible standard of health in a responsive manner by supporting equitable, affordable and quality services for all Kenyans.

For a pregnant woman to enjoy the services offered by the programme, she is required to produce her national identification card for registration or, a guardian’s identification card or, use antenatal care records for pregnant women under 18 years.

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