The government has set aside Sh4 billion to provide health insurance through the National Health Insurance Fund to pregnant women from low-income and under-privileged backgrounds.
The first beneficiaries are expected to enjoy maternity cover from the second quarter which begins in October at no cost to the mothers, the Health ministry has said.
Under the package where the government will pay Sh6,000 per woman covered expectant mothers would be entitled to at least four antenatal check-ups, delivery and post-natal check-ups, according to Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu.
He said there are between 1.5 to 1.8 million deliveries annually, 62 per cent of which are in health facilities.
FREE CT SCANS
The intention of the scheme is to get more mothers to deliver at health facilities with skilled health attendants, he said.
Dr Mailu told the Nation on Thursday: Women under the scheme, the expectant mothers, will access maternity for between 12 to 18 months as well as immunisation for the child.
During a woman’s first visit, [she] will register [her] details and in the second visit get the insurance card.
Dr Mailu said the cover, under the Jubilee free maternity flagship project, will also encompass free CT scans at selected facilities, such as Aga Khan University Hospital.
Initially, the government would reimburse counties for every delivery services offered but this had been marred by challenges including reports of delayed reimbursements.
These reimbursements were made in the past three years.
The impact is that these issues will be resolved but also the funds will go directly to the facilities a woman choses to deliver at. In addition, the insurance will empower the woman to seek healthcare as there is no financial constraints.
He further said an expected outcome is that facilities will have to improve their services and infrastructure in order to handle the number of women seeking quality delivery services.
NHIF senior public relations officer Gerald Kainga confirmed the insurance package for pregnant mothers was in the works, adding that more details on the programme would be provided soon.
Already, NHIF has 5.9 million members, nearly 2.2 million of whom are self-employed while the rest are in formal employment.