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Hospitals threaten to paralyse services over delayed Linda Mama funds

 RUPHA National Chairman Brian Lisheng (centre). RUPHA wants the government to clear a debt of Sh3 billion. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Hospitals have threatened to paralyse delivery services offered under the Linda Mama programme across the country, citing the government's failure to release funds. 

The hospitals under the umbrella of the Rural Private Hospitals Association of Kenya (RUPHA) want the government to clear a debt of Sh3 billion. 

RUPHA National Chairman Brian Lishenga said the government has not disbursed Linda Mama funds for the last eight months. 

The money is owed to about 3,000 hospitals among them public, private and faith-based, which offer Linda Mama services. 

In a memo written to the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), the hospitals have given the government an ultimatum of 14 days to settle the debts, failure of which they will withdraw services. 

Dr Lishenga said there is no commitment by NHIF, the Ministry of Health and the National Treasury to clear the debt. 

“We (hospitals) held a meeting with NHIF on Friday but they told us that their hands are tied up because they have not received money from the National Treasury,” he said. 

Linda Mama programme

The official added: “It is worrying that the government has ignored Linda Mama programme that is meant to reduce mother and child death during delivery." 

The last allocation to the programme was the 2022/23 financial year. In February, this year, the Ministry of Health through the Treasury paid Sh300 million for services that had been rendered under the Linda Mama programme. 

The money was distributed to all hospitals that had rendered services.

“The Sh300 million paid by The National Treasury was so little, only 10 per cent of what they owe us," said Lishenga. 

He raised fears that with changes in medical schemes from NHIF to Social Health Authority (SHA), the debt might not be cleared. 

Linda Mama programme is offered in almost every government hospital ranging from Level 2, 3 to 4. 

The programme was initiated in 2016 under NHIF by former President Uhuru Kenyatta with the aim of reducing maternal and infant mortality. 

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