MARIE STOPES SIERRA LEONE (MSSL)
LAUNCHES ANOTHER VOUCHER SCHEME Ė HEALTHY BABY
In our relentless efforts to contribute to the reduction of Maternal Mortality in Sierra Leone, we have today launched a Maternal Voucher Scheme Ė Healthy Baby. The projectís objective is to reduce the number of mothers and children dying or being disabled due to the absence or under-utilization of skilled medical attendance during pregnancy and child delivery.
Each Healthy Baby Voucher is a package that enables a pregnant woman the following FREE services - 4 free antenatal visits, 2 free ultrasounds, a free delivery that includes a normal or C-section and a free post natal check that includes family planning - from a choice of Accredited Private Maternity Clinics.
Regular antenatal care that allows screening for risk factors during pregnancy and delivery has proven to have a huge impact on mother and child wellbeing and becomes accessible through this scheme. The project will have a positive impact on the Sierra Leone health system by introducing an alternative delivery mechanism. Voucher Schemes in other countries have shown a potential to increase efficiency over typical input-based public health care systems, thus reaching a greater number of people with limited amount of public expenditure.
Healthy Baby cannot and will not replace the Governmentís Free Healthcare agenda for pregnant and lactating women and under 5ís. We fully support the Governmentís agenda and are active participants in the Strategic Working Committee. We see Healthy Baby as very timely in preparing the private sector and indeed women through BlueStar to fully embrace the agenda.
Healthy Baby Vouchers will be distributed during outreach activities starting in the Western Area using a Poverty Grading Tool to ensure we target and reach the most deserving of pregnant women. The Vouchers will be used by pregnant women to access free services from accredited private providers, who will render the services for free and thereafter submit a claim to MSSLís Voucher Management Agency for reimbursement. Healthy Baby will be piloted in the Western Area, Bo & Makeni.
MSSL continues to translate theories, approaches and concepts and test there appropriateness in the Sierra Leone context to ensure we are always providing the best solutions and choices for Sierra Leoneans. Healthy Baby is fully funded by Marie Stopes International (MSI) with support from a local advisory committee.
Private Sector Partnerships Director
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.