Media Coverage

Government of Kenya launches National expanded free maternity services program dubbed Linda Mama

NAIROBI, Kenya, 17 October 2016 – The government through the Ministry of Health will tomorrow launch the expanded free maternal care programme dubbed Linda Mama Boresha Jamii at Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC).

Linda Mama is a great step forward towards improving access and quality of maternal, new born and child health care services in the country as well as attainment of health goals as outlined in Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals 1, 3 and 10 related to poverty, good health/wellbeing and reduction of inequalities.

The redesigned intiative expands the network of health providers to include faith based facilites through a direct re-imbursement mechanism that pays for number of deliveries reported, to a health insurance plan to be administered by NHIF. The system is expected to improve efficiency, accountability and minimize complains associated with delays in disbursement of free maternity money.

The benefit package includes both outpatient and inpatient services for the mother and newborn for a period of one year and it will include Antenatal Care, Delivery, Postnatal Care and Emergency referrals for pregnancy related conditions as well as complications.

Maternal mortality has reduced significantly since the abolishment of the maternity fee and introduction of Free Maternal Care Programme in public hospitals by President Uhuru Kenyatta in June 1, 2013.

Kenya is the only country that has met 4 out 5 WHO nutritional goals. Stunting reduced from 35% to 26%, while exclusive breastfeeding improved from 32% to 61%. The under-five mortality has declined from 115 to 52 translating to 30,000 children’s lives saved. Neonatal mortality has also declined from 33 to 22 per 1000 live births over the same period. Vaccination coverage for fully immunized child has gone up to 76% from 68% in 2013/14.

Maternal mortality has also dropped from 488 to 362/100,000. This represents 2000 mothers lives saved. Primary healthcare utilization has increased from 69% in the financial year 2013 to 77% in 2016 as a result of foregone user fees.

For a pregnant woman to enjoy the services offered by the expanded programme they are required to produce their national identification card for registration, a guardian’s identification card or use of antenatal care records for pregnant women under 18 years.
The implementation of the benefit package will be done in two Phases within 2016/17 Financial year.