Linda Mama is an initiative taken by the Jubilee administration to help pregnant women and infants. This fund is to help pregnant women and infants access subsidized or free health services. It has been accessible for mothers all across public hospitals and some private ones as well.
Though many mothers were relieved by the introduction of Linda Mama, the hope for its continuation is low. This was a project that was driven by the former first lady, Margaret Kenyatta, which offered support to expectant mothers and infants under the Universal Health Care system.
The NHIF however, has not paid the hospitals in a few months and the financial strain is causing them to close their doors. Many hospitals that cannot afford to provide healthcare to pregnant mothers under Linda Mama are turning them away. These mothers, in turn, end up giving birth at home and many suffer birth pains leading to an increasing number of maternal deaths.
” I have been to this hospital three times now and have not been served. I am now forced to pay cash for the service for me to receive attention, ” Phanice Nasimiyu said. She is a woman from Trans Nzoia County, a 36-year-old mother seeking health care at the local hospital.
According to a survey conducted, hospitals charge between Ksh 3500 and 10,000 for normal delivery and between 25,000 and 65,000 for cesarean delivery including medication. Linda Mama was meant to assist mothers in accessing necessary services at lower costs and avoid the increase in maternal deaths or complications.
Some hospitals, however, are still accepting the Linda Mama cards and allowing women to access health care. These hospitals are primarily private and those with sufficient funds to keep them afloat. Those that do not accept the Linda Mama cards are facing a financial crisis after the disbursement of funds is yet to be made after a few months.
If the funds are not disbursed on time, the Linda Mama scheme might collapse and leave women in red lights. It may lead to a sudden increase in street and home births and at the same time, maternal and infant deaths.
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