YEAR OF JUBILEE GIFT FOR EXPECTANT MOTHERS!!
This was the greatest news for women in Kenya’s history. This has come so timely since many hospitals both in the rural and urban areas reported many cases of women who died in the hands of traditional birth attendants because they could not afford hospital care, or were retained in hospitals for a long time because they were unable to pay their hospital bills. We also had cases of those who reached hospital and since they could not afford the care, they passed away before they were attended to. This has come months after one Former Makadara MP Mike Songo came to the aid of 100 women who had been denied to leave hospital for failure of payment of maternity fees.
What a way to bring realization of biblical Jubilee for women who struggle so much with lack of access to quality maternal health care services and the challenge of mortality in homes and hospitals.
“With respect to health, my government has made adequate budgetary
Arrangements to enable all pregnant mothers to access free maternity
Services in all public health facilities, with effect from 1st June, 2013,”
said President Kenyatta during the Madaraka Day celebrations at the
Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi”
Was received well by all kenyans
The president said, "In addition, the user fees … that have hitherto been charged in dispensaries and health centers respectively will equally cease with effect from 1st June, 2013.
"These measures are expected to increase access to required services by all pregnant mothers. They will also increase access to primary healthcare services in government health centers and dispensaries by all Kenyans," he said”
However, it is worth noting that the Kenyan Citizenry had varied responses to the announcement of free maternal health, highlighting the implication of this announcement by the president Uhuru Kenyatta to the health system and the populace.
A: Mr President I really appreciate this move. This shows that our taxes will really be put into use. Pregnant mothers do not have to die because they were unable to afford Ksh. 2000-7000 for maternity fee. Continue working
B: Health is going to another level, I absolutely like this. Also remember that the work of midwives is gonna escalate; I hope there salaries will also be considered. It is not charity they are doing
C: This is a great idea...if only the government ensures these services are up to date....this move is meant to save lives....but this won't be the case if these facilities are crowded/filthy, not staffed with qualified people. On the other Kenyans should reminded at every juncture it is expensive to have and raise kids....so they should some planning involved.
D: Whereas it good to praise a good deed, it would be wise to think of those areas that dont have the basic facilities like dispensaries and hospitals. Far flung areas of Marsabit, Turakana, Garissa, Mandera, West Pokot do not even have the basic clinic. How do the women of these areas benefit? May be the facilities should have been put in this place first then we start on an equal footing. Otherwise it looks like to those that have, more shall be added.
While we celebrate that the government announced, allocated a budget in the 2013/2014 financial year, and went further to effect free maternal health care services, there are a few challenges that the Jubilee package for expectant mothers comes with. All these have to be put in place in order to fully celebrate Jubilee gift to expectant mothers;
1. High influx of expectant mothers to health facilities, beyond the capacity of the health facilities.
2. increased need for more nurses and doctors to address the need for care of the mothers that are flocking to the hospital to deliver their babies
3. need for improved facilities –wards, beds, mattresses/sheets and blankets
4. up calling of supplies needed in the wards and delivery and others places that need to support the women
5. retraining of hospital staff –clinical and non clinical staff to understand what free maternal health implies, and to address issues of proper handling of mothers to minimize abuse, mortality and neglect once they arrive at the hospital
6. educating the public on the availability free maternal services and the need to motivate all mothers to make use of the services at all levels
7. Improve the referral system so that mothers with complicated pregnancies reach the next clinician on time.
8. Improve the road, and ensure there are vehicles for distressed calls from the some mothers who can not afford transport to or from the hospital before and after delivery.
9. avail means of transport to the referral hospitals during emergencies
10. ensuring that there are available health facilities and services in marginalized areas in the country
11. nutritional support before during and after delivery
12. social economic empowerment of the women attending clinic
I strongly believe that once the above have been taken into consideration, women and their families will have all the reasons to for ever celebrate the Jubilee relief for expectant mothers. This will go a long way in realizing the milleium development goals with regard to safe motherhood for all women in the world.