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Using vouchers to pay for performance and reach the poor: The Kenyan Safe Motherhood initiative

Ben Bellows, University of California, Berkeley
Richard Muga, National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development, Kenya
Francis Kundu, National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development, Kenya
Julia Walsh, University of California, Berkeley
Malcolm Potts, University of California, Berkeley

The Government of Kenya is embarking on a performance-based reproductive health program that links government’s keen interest in removing barriers to women’s health with incentives to reward services delivered. Across Kenya, only 42 percent of all births are assisted by a health professional. Unattended delivery is the greatest risk factor for maternal mortality and morbidity. The World Health Organization estimates in Kenya more than 400 women per 100,000 live births die during or immediately after delivery. The most effective means to reduce that awful figure is a Safe Motherhood package of antenatal services and attended delivery by a qualified health worker. A new performance-based voucher program, launched in June 2006, is one promising mechanism to reward healthcare providers for delivering Safe Motherhood services.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 4