Sunday, January 23

Gov Wangamati enrolls 540 birth companions on NHIF, monthly stipend

By: Dishon Amanya, Kenya

Governor Wangamati today enrolled 540 Birth Companions on NHIF. He also enlisted them on a monthly stipend of Sh2,000 and Sh300 for every hospital delivery.

The move is part of Governor Wangamati’s efforts to promote safe motherhood and the general primary healthare in Bungoma  County. 

The birth companions, who previously served as Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), have since been trained and redeployed to refer and accompany expectant mothers in their care to the nearest health facility either for antenatal care or even deliveries.

In a drastic departure from the past where they conducted deliveries themselves, the Birth Companions now join the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in ensuring as many mothers as possible deliver in hospitals under the care of skilled personnel, promoting safe motherhood and improving the general health indicators in communities.

Each of the 540 has also been linked to a health facility for ease of communication in cases where mothers need emergency care including ambulance services. 

They also help enroll pregnant of mothers on Linda Mama programme and keep records of their mothers they have referred to health facilities.

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Already, health indicators are improving as a result of the change in approach to and responsibilities of TBAs. Between 2016 and 2017, Bungoma County recorded 68 per cent hospital delivery. In 2019, hospital deliveries rose to 72 per cent. In 2021, as TBAs improved in their reporting and referral, hospital deliveries shot to 89 per cent. 

The stipend is designed to appreciate and motivate Birth Companions to do even more in identifying and referring any mothers to a health facility and wean them off the earnings they made by conducting deliveries at home. 

They are the latest group in the healthcare space to receive a stipend. In 2019, Governor Wangamati offered a stipend to 3,200 CHVs who had been working for more than 5 years with neither facilitation nor compensation for their time and effort.

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