, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 8 – The Ministry of Health on Wednesday disbursed Sh898 million to County governments for the Free Maternity Care Programme.
The payment comes ahead of the first quarter of the 2016/17 financial year and follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to cushion the devolved units from the financial costs associated with running the programme at the beginning of the financial year.
Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday, Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri announced that the allocation would enhance the Free Maternity Care Programme and ensure pregnant women continue to receive quality delivery services.
“This programme was launched by His Excellency three years ago and has since increased access to skilled birth attendance for all Kenyan mothers and significantly reduced maternal-child deaths,” he said. “Before the launch of the Free Maternity Care Programme, only 40 per cent of our mothers were delivering in health facilities; today, more than 70 per cent access and use these services.”
The Free Maternity Care Programme was launched in 2013 as a conditional grant, meaning hospitals would get reimbursed after conducting deliveries. “The programme was designed to reimburse public hospitals for costs incurred in the execution of this programme. Every hospital is paid Sh5,000 for every delivery while health centers receive Sh2,500,” added Muraguri.