Poor mothers in Kibera slums, Kenya, miss out on free maternity services

Where women in Kibera slums are giving birth.

By Gatonye Gathura

More than half of pregnant women in Kibera slums, Nairobi cannot access the free maternity services; hence turn to substandard private clinics.

Distance to a public facility and hostile health workers are the main reasons 56 per cent of the women are delivering in private clinics or at home.

A survey on the use of the free maternity services introduced in 2013 shows only 44 per cent of pregnant women in Kibera slums deliver at public health facilities.

The study by the University of Nairobi and Vrije University, The Netherlands, appeared on 30th May 2018 in the Pan African Medical Journal.

This happens even as 99 container clinics worth Sh 800 million and linked to the Sh5.2 billion 2016 Afya House scandal, rot at a National Youth Service Yard in Mombasa.

Of the 396 women who participated in the Kibera study, 174 delivered at a public health facility, 120 at an NGO  facility, 90 at a private facility and 12 delivered at home

Long distance to the public health facility, perceived poor quality of care and negative attitude of the health care workers were the main reasons women kept away from government facilities.

A significant number of women also feared that their children would be stolen or die at the public facility.

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