Uzazi Salama Programme Launches in Kilifi County

by Amref Health Africa

The KES 225 Million investment aims to impact 500,000 lives by supporting reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health.

25th April 2026…… Amref Health Africa in Kenya, in collaboration with the Mpesa Foundation and the County Government of Kilifi, has launched a maternal health programme to strengthen Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child, and Adolescent health outcomes (RMNCAH) for mothers and children. The three-year KES 225 Million programme, called Uzazi Salama, is set to impact 500,000 people in Kilifi County by improving the maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health outcomes in Kilifi County. The programme will focus on improving access to maternal health, including setting up medical infrastructure and building the capacity of health workers to enhance service delivery.

Kilifi County is among the 13 high-burden maternal and newborn mortality counties in the country, with a maternal mortality rate of 532 per 100,000 live births mainly attributed to high teenage pregnancies, limited access to quality maternal and newborn health services due to long distances, postpartum haemorrhage, poverty, harmful cultures like early marriage among others. (KNBS 2019)

The programme was launched at Junju Dispensary in Kilifi South Constituency, where the Foundation is set to invest KES 10 million in constructing and equipping a 24-hour maternity unit.

Speaking at the launch of Uzazi Salama, Amref’s Family and Reproductive Health Director said, “Giving birth should be a joyous experience for both the mother and baby. We can achieve this by ensuring every pregnant woman and newborn

receives quality care with equity and dignity throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period. Leveraging partnerships, innovation, technology, and data-driven approaches are key to achieving zero maternal and newborn.”

With this in mind, Amref Health Africa and the Ministry of Health established the Maternal and Newborn Health Big Bet initiative to drastically reduce maternal and newborn deaths in 13 high-burden counties, including Kilifi Counties.

Ms Gitimu acknowledged Kilifi County’s commitment to investing in the Maternal and Newborn Big Bet initiative. This initiative aims to forge new alliances to spearhead investment and execution of transformative strategies, focusing on enhancing the survival and well-being of expectant mothers and newborns in Kenya.

“Health is one of our key pillars at M-PESA Foundation, focusing on maternal and child healthcare. Through Uzazi Salama, we have impacted the lives of over 350,000 people in Samburu and Homa Bay counties, and we hope to impact even more here in Kilifi. We seek to ensure that mothers and children receive quality healthcare, from prenatal care through the delivery room and into postnatal care,” said Patricia Ithau, Trustee, M-PESA Foundation.

During her address, the Deputy Governor of Kilifi County, Her Excellency Flora Mbetsa Chibule, expressed her optimism about drastically reducing maternal and newborn deaths through Uzazi Salama. “Women will no longer lose their lives to childbirth due to long distances and limited access to maternal health services during the night because this partnership aims to ensure that our mothers and children receive the best healthcare to reduce the cases of maternal and infant mortality in our county. She said the project would also help decongest the surrounding referral hospitals by providing much-needed services in lower-level facilities. “Inappropriate utilisation of higher-level health facilities and ineffective management of the referral processes in resource-limited settings has been increasingly becoming a concern in healthcare management in the County,” she said.

The Uzazi Salama project will also address the social determinants of health by addressing gender and social norms, enhancing male engagement, and incorporating technology in education to reduce low illiteracy levels among girls, curb teenage pregnancies, and reduce poverty and gender disparities.

Under the Maternal and Newborn Health Big Bet, Amref Health Africa has identified four pivotal game-changers to address the high number of deaths, ensuring healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries in 60 referral health facilities across high-burden counties. These game-changers include the establishment of High Response Maternity Units, strengthening response systems for neonatal emergencies, strengthening Primary Health Care, and strengthening accountability for every mother and newborn.

About Amref Health Africa in Kenya:

Amref Health Africa is an international non-governmental and non-profit organization headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. Our work in Kenya is guided by the promise of improving the lives of disadvantaged people through better health, bridging gaps between communities, health systems and governments, being a leading force for advocacy for health system reforms, providing thought leadership in health and establishing training programs.

Amref Kenya’s new eight-year strategic plan (2023 – 2030) takes on a strategic and innovative approach to enhancing the achievement of the organisation’s vision to create Lasting Health Change in Africa through people-centred primary healthcare systems and addressing social determinants of health.

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