Kenya has made substantial advances in reducing maternal and child deaths since the late 1990s. The country is continuing to tackle maternal and child mortality through several financing and programmatic mechanisms, all of which are aligned with the priorities laid out in Kenya’s Health Sector Strategic Plan and Investment Framework. The country has improved the coverage of key maternal and child health services such as antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, and family planning. Continuing to support and strengthen reforms in planning, budgeting, and data use will be critical in achieving health objectives, also focusing on tailored plans that to respond to the needs of each county.
The GFF Partnership Response
In support of the Investment Framework, the GFF partnership and key donors are providing financing and technical assistance to help improve health service quality, alignment, financing, and implementation. The GFF support is aligned with plans to provide financial incentives for counties to allocate at least 30 percent of their budgets to health and to ringfence; reduce fragmentation and improve efficiency of spending; and scale up birth registration with maternal and child services, build the capacity of registration officials in monitoring and supervision and health officials in cause of death certification and coding, and incentivize birth registration. Co-financed by the GFF Trust Fund, the World Bank Transforming Health Systems for Universal Care Project is encouraging country governments to shift from a health-inputs model to a health-results model. The RMNCAH Technical Assistance Multi-Donor Trust Fund, co-financed by USAID, DFID, and Danida, complements the project and Kenya’s RMNCAH Investment Frameworkby providing technical assistance and capacity building for better and more sustainable results.
In 2017, Kenya’s health system suffered a severe crisis in its health workforce that disrupted the health system and resulted doctor and nurse strikes for almost a year. The impact of these disruptions resulted in mixed progress across indicators and regions. The introduction of high-impact, cost-effective RMNCAH interventions, the promotion of joint learning, and the monitoring of progress toward the core health goals have helped Kenya make measurable progress in its four focus indicators of antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, immunization, and family planning. Women’s antenatal care visits increased significantly between 2015 and 2018, 48.6 percent of pregnant women attended at least four antenatal care visits, a 9.5 percentage point increase over 2015. However, this data varied across counties. The percentage of women of reproductive age who received modern family planning commodities dropped between 2015 and 2017, believed to be driven by the strike. Use of family planning services rose in 2018, reaching 44.1 percent, but did not fully recover to pre-strike levels.
More information on how Kenya is achieving results is available in the latest GFF Annual Report.