Expanding Access to Maternal, Newborn and Primary Healthcare Services through Private-Community-Government Partnership Clinic Models in Rural Kenya: the Ubuntu-Afya Kiosk Model
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Background: Fifteen counties contribute 98.7% of the maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality in Kenya. The dismal maternal and newborn (MNH) outcomes in these settings are mostly attributable to limited access to skilled MNH services. Public health services are stretched and limited in reach, and many social programmes are not sustainably designed. We implemented a network of 16 self-sustaining community medical centres (Ubuntu-Afya Kiosks) in Homa Bay County, to facilitate access to MNH and other primary health services. We investigated the effect of these centres on MNH access indicators over a 2-year period of initial implementation. Methods: We conducted a baseline and end-line survey in June 2016 and May 2018 respectively, in 10 community health units (CHU) served by Ubuntu-Afya Kiosks. We targeted women of child bearing age, ensuring equal sample across the 10 CHUs. The surveys were powered to detect a 10% increase in the proportion of women who deliver under a skilled birth attendant from a perceived baseline of 55%. Background characteristics of the respondents were compared using Fisher’s exact test for the categorical data. STATA ‘svy’ commands were used to calculate confidence intervals for the proportions taking into account the clustering within CHU. Results: The coverage of antenatal care during previous pregnancy was 99% at end-line compared to 81% at baseline. Seventy one percent of mothers attended at least four antenatal care visits, compared to 64% at baseline. The proportion of women who delivered under a skilled birth attendant during previous pregnancy was higher at end-line (90%) compared to baseline (85%). There was an increase in the proportion of women who had their newborns examined within 2 day of delivery from 74 to 92% at end-line. A considerable proportion of the respondents visited private clinics at end-line (31%) compared to 3% at baseline. Conclusions: Ubuntu-Afya Kiosks were associated with enhanced access to MNH care, with significant improvements observed in newborn examination within 2 days after delivery. More women sought care from private clinics at end-line compared to baseline, indicating potential for private sector in supporting health service delivery gaps in under-served settings.