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Kenya’s ‘Linda Mama’ Policy is a Step in the Right Direction Towards Universal Health Coverage

To provide more women with healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth, Kenya introduced free maternity health services in 2013. The benefits include antenatal care, attended delivery and outpatient care for infants up to nine months. Pregnant women can use these services at a range of healthcare facilities including those run by the government, faith-based organisations, nongovernmental organisations, or private providers. Researchers say the policy has shown to have resulted on average 4,015 fewer neonatal deaths after its implementation, the cost-to-benefit ratio of the policy was 21.22. The net benefits received from the policy were 21 times higher than the cost. Further investment into the free maternity policy could potentially avert even more maternal and neonatal deaths in Kenya where the maternal mortality ratio and neonatal death rates are higher than the global averages.