Fact check: The truth about births in public hospitals

Mothers rest with their newborns in the postnatal ward at Consolata Mathari Hospital in Nyeri County on January 2, 2017.PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Have births in hospitals tripled under Jubilee?

“…When creating our government we promised Kenyans various things. First, to the women of Kenya, that they won’t again encounter problems, or risk their lives while giving birth to our future leaders. By the grace of God, we’ve fulfilled that. Today, more than thrice the number of our women are able to access maternity services in public hospitals…”

President Uhuru Kenyatta at the launch of the Jubilee Manifesto at the Kasarani Gymnasium on June 27

In the 2017 Budget Speech, which was delivered on March 30, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said that the number of women delivering in health facilities “has increased from 660,000 to 1.2 million annually.”

Ministry of Health Head of Policy, Planning and Healthcare Financing Peter Kimuu told the Nation in January this year that there were 461,995, 627,487, 811,645 and 911,959 deliveries from the 2012/2013 to the 2015/2016 years, respectively.

This means that deliveries increased by 36 per cent and 29 per cent in the fiscal years 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 respectively, and by 12 per cent in 2015/2016.

In actual numbers, deliveries increased by 165,492 in 2013/2014; 184,158 in 2014/2015; and 100,314 in 2015/2016.

For President Kenyatta’s claim to be true, there would have had to be more than 1.38 million deliveries in the 2016/2017 financial year, triple the number in 2012/2013.

For deliveries to reach 1.38 million in 2016/2017, they would have to increase by an unlikely 474,026 from the previous year, an increase of 50 per cent and two and a half to three times the annual increase in deliveries for each of the three previous years.

Further, given that Kenyan doctors were on strike for 100 days in the second part of the financial year, this is unlikely.