Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health in a Devolved State: The Kenya Context

Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health in a Devolved State: The Kenya Context

In recent years, the Government of Kenya has endorsed a range of global and regional initiatives for accelerating action to improve the health and well-being of women and their children, including the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, the Maputo Plan of Action, and CARMMA, and has made specific commitments to achieve them.

In 2013, the Kenya Constitution introduced a devolved system of government that aims to enhance access to health services by all Kenyans, especially those in rural and hard-to-reach areas. Within this new context of devolution, the implementation of these health policy commitments will shift: some policy issues will continue to be addressed through national mechanisms while implementation of health policy issues will now be addressed at the county level with the full involvement of local policy makers and health officials.

Family Care International and the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) developed this policy brief to provide guidance to civil society advocates on policy and decision-making structures, and avenues and opportunities for advocacy, in a context where the health system is devolved.

Produced in 2014, this policy brief are part of a larger effort to engage civil society around advocacy for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH). In May 2012, a network of Kenyan civil society organizations was established to strengthen advocacy for the realization of RMNCH commitments, and to provide a forum for civil society organizations to build on their synergies, share information, avoid duplication of efforts, and harmonize ways of working with the Government and other stakeholders. FEMNET and FCI also implemented the Mobilizing Advocates from Civil Society (MACS) project, which aims to strengthen civil society’s engagement in the implementation and monitoring of government commitments in RMNCH.