Expectant women in Vihiga district have a reason to smile after a nongovernmental organization an intensive care program for pregnant women to ensure a better quality of life for mothers-to-be, and to provide better conditions for childbirth and lower infant mortality rates.
Speaking during the launch, the CEO Changamka Micro Health Limited Mr.Samwel Agutu said the program will be known as “Save Life at Birth Program.”
Agutu said that the NGO is working in collaboration of the Ministry of Public Health and sanitation and Ministry of Medical Service to increase the rate of skilled assistance at birth in Vihiga district where the uptake of saving maternal health services is limited.
“Research show that lack of adequate care is a leading cause of maternal mortality in developing world and that mothers who attend their required ante natal visit and delivery in hospitals stand an infinitely chance of survival,” said Agutu.
The two year program comes as a result of a grant that Changamka received from the saving lives at birth consortium in order to enhance access to health service among poor expectant mothers.
“We aim at addressing the financial constrain by subsiding the cost of maternal care service before, during and after delivery, financial the costs of transportation, providing information for those who need it most,” added Agutu.
The organization chose Vihiga district in Western Kenya where facility based deliveries are very low and currently stand at only 26 per cent.
The key barrier to hospital deliveries has been found to be the cost of care, transport and lack of information.
Changamka will administer an innovative system of maternal health vouchers subsided, known as M-KADI that will be distributed electronically to the women s mobile phones to cater for their maternal health care need.
Transportation subsidies will be delivered via MPESA to ensure eligible women get to health facilities. The program also includes an informational SMS messaging campaign aimed at education women on the benefits of hospital based delivery.
Agutu added that program will be admitted at all public health facilities in Vihiga District which include Vihiga district hospital, Mbale Rural Health Training centre, Iduku dispensary, Mulele dispensary, Bugamangi dispensary, Vihiga health centre, Lyanaginga health centre and Enzaro Health Centre.
“Already computers have been provided to each facility to manage payment and data recording arch Changamka has engaged research from Georgetown and New York University in the USA, who have developed a rigorous evaluation framework which incorporates randomized evaluation techniques to demonstrate the effectiveness scalability and sustainability of the innovation,” said Agutu
The launched was graced by Asumpta Matekwa representing The Provincial Public Health Office and the Vihiga District Medical Superintendent Francis Odira who welcomed the initiative and promised to support the programme.