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Urban Voucher Programme Saving Vulnerable Pregnant Women

The Results Based Funding (RBF) Urban Voucher Programme, a financing mechanism that supports poor pregnant women access health services has proven effective in saving the lives of vulnerable women and children in urban areas.

Dr. Mervyn Venge, the acting deputy director of Reproductive Health in the Ministry of Health and Child Care said the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Programme is aimed at ensuring that pregnancy and child birth do not pose a threat to the lives of mothers and newborns.

“It seeks to provide high-quality comprehensive and integrated maternal, newborn, and child health services by scaling up proven cost-effective interventions at high population coverage through family and community outreach and health facility-level care,” said Dr. Venge.

He however noted that the program had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which affected staff morale among other challenges.

“Routine data shows that while the performance of the program was affected significantly by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, there were notable improvements in 2021 and 2022. Challenges with human resources for health (staff attrition, low morale, and burnout) remain the major factor militating against better program performance,” he said.

Dr. Venge said the program sought to further increase the Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) from 67 percent in 2015 to 80 percent by 2025 and reducing Adolescent Birth Rate from 108 births per 1 000 adolescent girls in 2019 to 93 per 1 000 by 2025.

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It also seeks to reduce the Maternal Mortality Ratio from 462 in 2019 to 240 by 2025, reduce Neonatal Mortality Rate from 32 in 2019 to 20 deaths per 1 000 live births by 2025, reduce the Under-five Mortality Rate from 65 in 2019 to 41 deaths per 1 000 live births by 2025.

The urban voucher is aligned with the National Health Strategy and Policy which seeks to enhance equity in access to health services.

The voucher allows a pregnant woman four Antenatal Clinic visits, delivery and related complications (Including Caesarean section), Postnatal Care (PNC) up to the sixth postnatal week, ambulance services, family planning services, Vitamin A supplementation, and Sexual Gender-Based Violence Post Exposure Prophylaxis. Community health workers identify pregnant women and enrolment into the program is done through the administration of a poverty assessment tool that determines eligibility. 

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