Finland has been a forerunner in the development of maternal and child health care. Child and maternal health has been a focus in Finland since mid-1920s and infant, child and maternal mortality rates are among the lowest in the world.
In early 1940s the infant mortality rate was still very high in Finland. The actual rate of the time was 90 deaths per 1000 childbirths. Today the rate is 1,7 deaths per 1000 childbirths (2015, www.stat.fi).
During 1920s and -30s The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL) offered clothing and baby care products to be lent for poor families.
Child health centre –concept started in Finland in mid-1920s. Founding father of the concept was Pediatrician Professor Arvo Ylppö. Enactment of the Public Healthcare Act was approved 1944 and according to the Act all Finnish municipalities had to found a child health center no later than 1949.
The Finnish Maternity Package (maternity grant) has been available for poor families since 1937 and it came available for all families in 1949. In order to receive the package a person needs to be registered in the public healthcare system.
Since 1994 The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA) has been in charge of the package and its distribution. Today KELA is providing around 60 000 maternity grants every year.