A new initiative to lower high maternal and neonatal mortality rates will provide these free services to pregnant women in 13 of its 26 regions.
The plan provides cost-free care during pregnancy, one month post childbirth, and for the first 28 days of a newborn’s life. However, concerns have been raised about the strained healthcare system’s ability to cope with the increased patient load due to understaffing and inadequate facilities. The rollout is taking place during nationwide protests by healthcare workers advocating for better pay and conditions.
The country lacks universal health coverage, and it’s common for hospitals to detain patients until they can pay their bills in full, sometimes leaving expectant mothers in facilities for weeks. However, there is also skepticism about the quality of the free care and many fear that the free services may be of low quality.