Health ministry urged to embrace Kenyan model for enhanced maternal healthcare

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

The Standing Committee on Health, Social Welfare and Labour Affairs has recommended to the National Council that the Ministry of Health and Social Services should benchmark and adopt Kenya’s Linda Mama maternal healthcare model.

This suggestion comes after a comprehensive study visit to the Parliament of the Republic of Kenya, where the committee gained profound insights into Kenya’s commitment to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Chairperson of the committee, Hans Linekela Nambondi emphasised the potential impact in the report, stating, “The Committee recommends the Ministry of Health and Social Services benchmark and emulate the Linda Mama model to enhance Namibia’s maternal homes concept.”

Approached for comment, the Executive Director of the health ministry, Ben Nangombe, was not aware of the report by the time of going to print.

Kenya’s Linda Mama, a public-funded health scheme, ensures expectant mothers and infants have access to quality and affordable health services. The scheme covers a comprehensive package, including antenatal and postnatal care, with eligibility extending to all pregnant Kenyan citizens for a period of one year.

Registration requirements for Linda Mama are inclusive, allowing even pregnant women without national identification cards or guardians to be registered using antenatal care records only.

According to Nambondi, this approach aligns with the committee’s vision of providing accessible healthcare to all, regardless of documentation.

The committee’s report states that Namibia in considering the adoption of the Linda Mama model, has the opportunity to strengthen its maternal healthcare system. This recommendation aligns with Kenya’s commitment to Universal Health Coverage, where a series of bills have been introduced to accelerate the attainment of UHC.

The funding mechanism proposed in Kenya involves employed citizens contributing a percentage of their salary, ensuring financial sustainability and paving the way for universal access to quality healthcare. This approach aims to eliminate financial barriers to healthcare while addressing the burdens of communicable and non-communicable conditions.

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