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Examining Free Maternity Care In Kenya

Writing in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Jane Otai, a 2013 New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a senior program adviser for Jhpiego, a non-profit global health affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, writes about the “positive step” of free maternity care in Kenya, but adds “it is … imperative to ensure that free care equals quality care.” She states, “[A]s someone with over 15 years of experience talking with women and families in Kenya’s informal settlements, I also know that tradition and what many Kenyans perceive as poor-quality hospital care will stand in the way of this well-intentioned program.” She adds, “So while the government celebrates free maternity care in our health facilities, there is still a need to convince women that they will get a high quality service from the health providers” (8/28).