An expectant woman has embarked on a journey to protest against the high prices of diapers.
Dressed in a white maternity dress and wide sun-glasses along Nairobi's Kimathi Street, in her left hand is a dressed up doll, wrapped in diapers; a replica of a baby and in her right hand is a placard addressed to President William Ruto, First Lady Rachel Ruto and Nairobi leaders led by Governor Johnson Sakaja to intervene and at least avail government-funded or free diapers.
Suher Sandel better known as Mama Diaper’ is a single mother of one; and is advocating for cheaper diapers- an initiative she says would ease the burden for mothers across the country.
“I am expectant, almost due and I am having anxiety over diapers. I have a one-year-old child and when I think of the diapers budget, it really ties me down. I have tried to get mothers to demonstrate with me but they are scared, I don’t know why but as a mother, I want the government to come in and speak for them instead,” she said.
Among the demands is that mothers who have given birth through the NHIF or Linda Mama programme-should access free or subsidised cost diapers at every visit to post-natal clinic.
She is of the opinion that NHIF cards activation period should reduce from two months to two weeks and requested the Linda Mama to stand for women who cannot give birth normally.
“I would like the government to provide means that NHIF and Linda mama mums can give birth to any hospital as long as you have the cards,” she added.
With the NHIF Cover, expectant mothers have access to antenatal visits, maternity cover of up to Sh10,000 for normal delivery while a C-Section delivery is covered up to Sh30,000.
The woman further noted that the government should manufacture its own diapers and sell it to mothers at subsidised prices for babies below three years of age..
With nearly 1.5 million babies being born annually in the country, manufacturers of baby care products are only reaching a third of the market.
According to number of births in Kenya 2016-220 by Statista in 2020, approximately 1.14 million births were registered in Kenya, decreasing from nearly 1.19 million births in the previous year.
Though diapers, wipes and formulas are the fastest-moving products, the market reach is mostly to the middle and upper-class members of society.