Evaluation of free maternal health care services in Kenya: (A case study of machakos level 5 hospital)
Free maternal health care services in Kenya was introduced three and a half years ago and increased the number of skilled deliveries significantly. Empirical studies of preventive and curative services have often found that utilization of maternal health services is related to the availability, quality and cost of services, as well as to social structure, health beliefs and personal characteristics of the users. In this paper an attempt is made to examine the factors associated with the utilization of free maternal health care services in Kenya on the basis of data collected from Machakos Level 5 hospital. This work is aimed at assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of the programme at all levels which depends heavily among other things on the quality of services offered and the involvement of the stake holders. The stakeholders include clients/ end users of the product i.e mothers, the service providers (facility based health care workers), the health management teams; the governance teams, the county government and the community at large. In a sample of 269 participants who received free maternal services at Machakos level 5, the study investigated the influence of hospital infrastructure, resources, patient’s source of information and their satisfaction as factors that determine the effectiveness free maternity health care services in Kenya. The findings of the study showed that there is a recognizable relationship between hospital infrastructure and implementation of free maternity services in public hospitals. It also established that there is a direct relationship between resource allocation and implementation of iv free maternity services because resources are the enabling factors and immediate input into health system The study established that there is a positive and significant relationship between patient level of awareness and utilization of free maternal healthcare services. Awareness was sighted as a major structural variable that could influence decision of women to deliver in public hospitals, such knowledge should highlight on requirement and various point of service delivery all of which determined to a great extent the quality of free maternal health services in Kenya.
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