Credit: Rebekah Morton/Options

Improving maternal and newborn health

Kenya has some of the highest rates of maternal and newborn mortality in the world, and the poorest women and children are the most affected. Four out of ten women give birth at home without skilled care. Only one in three health facilities provide basic maternity services and only one in ten hospitals provide basic emergency obstetric care. Access to services depends on where women live and their socio-economic status, and the lack of transport and finances often prevents many women from utilising care.

The Maternal and Newborn Improvement (MANI) project is increasing the survival of mothers and newborns by improving the delivery of health services and promoting innovation for better care.

We are strengthening the health system to deliver high quality services, and enabling women to access these services routinely. We do this by:

  1. Strengthening health systems
    We are supporting the Bungoma County Department of Health to manage and deliver quality health services for women and newborns. This includes improved health planning and budgeting, and building capacity in leadership, governance and coordination at the county, sub-county and facility levels. We are training health care workers to provide high quality maternal and newborn health services, and to use data to drive quality improvement and decision making. We are strengthening systems to procure and distribute medicines and medical supplies, and improving health infrastructure through green energy, water and sanitation solutions. Aligned to national approaches, we are also implementing performance based financing and increasing links between service providers and communities to promote accountability.
  2. Increasing demand for services within the community
    We are strengthening community structures to raise awareness of maternal and newborn health issues and empower communities to access health services. This includes building the capacity of Community Health Volunteers in maternal and newborn health, increasing women’s awareness of their rights to access health services, and promoting the involvement and support of male partners. We are also educating and promoting knowledge of danger signs in pregnancy and labour, and encouraging women and their families to seek both routine and emergency health services. We are providing vouchers for poor women to access free transport to a health facility for delivery, and re-orienting traditional birth attendants to become referral agents for facility delivery.
  3. Funding innovative projects delivering local solutions to local problems
    We are leading the County Innovation Challenge Fund (CICF), investing in local projects that offer life-saving solutions for mothers and newborns. The fund also supports scaling up successful innovations that have demonstrated a clear positive impact in reducing maternal and newborn mortality. The CICF is open to international and national NGOs, civil- and faith-based organisations and the private sector. It operates in six counties; Bungoma, Garissa, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Turkana, and Embakasi and Kamukunji in Nairobi.


We have:

Trained 300 birth companions.

Trained 840 community health volunteers in maternal and newborn care

Distributed transport vouchers to over 19,000 women to reach health facilities for delivery  

Funded by: 

Share this page

Stay updated


phone+44 (0)20 7430 1900 emailEmail UK Office