A solution to the cost of giving life in Kenya

Edinah Kemunto Ombati, 26, stands with her two daughters outside her home in the Mukuru kwa Njenga slum, east Nairobi.

NAIROBI — The Kenyan government abolished delivery fees in all public hospitals and health centers in 2013 to encourage more births to take place within them, rather than at home, in the hope of reducing the number of pregnancy-related deaths.

Approximately 342 women die per 100,000 live births in the country — a stark contrast to countries such as Finland and Iceland where the figure is as low as three. In order to reach the Sustainable Development Goals — specifically SDG 3 on good health and well-being for all — the global maternal mortality ratio should be reduced to less than 70 per 100,000 by 2030, as per SDG target 3.1.

Despite the fee waiver — which previously ranged between 5,000 and 36,000 Kenyan shillings ($56-$300) depending on the facility — not every woman is reaping the benefits of a free birthing experience.

Continue reading the full multimedia feature story on the health financing platform helping to ensure every woman gives birth with the care, resources, and treatment she needs.

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The Maternity Matters series is sponsored by MSD for Mothers, MSD’s $500 million initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die giving life. The content of this article is the responsibility of the author(s) and does not necessarily represent the official views of MSD. MSD for Mothers is an initiative of Merck & Co., Inc. Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A.

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