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Improving mother and child health, underpinned by a management information system

High infant and maternal mortality rates are experienced in Kakamega County in western Kenya. The County Government of Kakamega, supported by UNICEF Kenya and the Government of Sweden, have therefore set out to reduce the number of needless deaths by ensuring that mothers-to-be access necessary health care during pregnancy and the early life of their babies.

The Mother and Child Health Programme involves providing a cash transfer to expectant mothers, to assist with and encourage them to attend antenatal clinics to monitor their health. A management information system is required to ensure that each woman’s health checks and cash transfers can be tracked from the start of their pregnancy to 18 months after they give birth.

Each mother in the programme is given a health book which provides evidence of keeping the medical appointments made for case management, necessary for receipt of their six payments of 2,000 KES, up to 12,000 KES each while they are on the programme.

Development Pathways is overseeing the MIS components of this programme, including designing, developing and installing the Imarisha Afya Ya Mama Na Mtoto (Mother and Child Health Programme MIS), and then training the various system users. Our experienced MIS team used ‘human-centred’ design methodology, which involved getting feedback from nurses, data clerks and health workers on their requirements when using the system, and making amendments to the interface in response.

The project also entailed building in security and confidentiality, including on protecting sensitive medical information such as the HIV status of the women.

Other county governments are looking closely at the programme, with neighbouring Vihiga the next to introduce a version — in this case for every expectant and new mother attending clinics in the county.