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Thursday, July 27, 2017

State launches 'Linda Mama' to target 400,000 women delivering at home

A file photo of new-born babies at a nursery in Pumwani Maternity Hospital. /CHARLES KIMANI
A file photo of new-born babies at a nursery in Pumwani Maternity Hospital. /CHARLES KIMANI

The government has expanded free maternity services through an initiative dubbed 'linda mama'.

Expectant women will now be able to access post natal and antenatal clinics, as well as one year long child health services in public and selected private hospitals.

A total of 1,000 faith-based organisations are also taking part in the initiative that is targeting 400,000 women who are delivering at home.

They will also be able to undergo screening for diseases and immunization for the infants.

In addition to this, the initiative offers emergency health services for complications and conditions, outpatient health care for infants at treatment and child welfare clinics.

“When President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the free maternity program 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 children have access to quality health at no cost.” Health CS Cleopa Mailu said.

Since the inception of the free maternity program in three years ago, close to 2,000 women and 30,000 maternal and child deaths have been averted.

“Even though we have made some gains in the free maternity program, a lot more needs to be done to ensure that the number gets to zero.” Mailu added.

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

NHIF chairman Mohamed Mohamud said that they have also removed the accreditation fees of Sh50,000 and Sh100,000 for public and private facilities which is aimed at making it easier for more facilities to come on board.

“This will ensure that free maternity services are accessible in all corners of this country,” Mohamud said.

Expectant mothers can get the linda mama card at any NHIF office, all public hospitals, selected private hospitals, faith based organization and also at any huduma center.

Those who are unable to visit the facilities can simply register through their mobile phone by dialing *263# and filing in the details.

Mailu added that the government has spent Sh9 billion in the free maternity program in the past three years adding that the budgetary allocation to the program will not reduce as a results if the benefits it has to expectant mothers and the infants.

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