Finland has been a forerunner in the development of maternal and child health care. As a result Finland has one of the lowest infant and mother mortality rates in the world. In the early 1940s the infant mortality rate was still very high, 90 deaths per 1000 childbirths, while in 2015 the rate had gone down to 1,7 deaths per 1000 childbirths.
Finland launched its Child health centre–concept in the mid-1920s. In 1944 the enactment of the Public Healthcare Act was passed, which obligated every municipality to found a Child health care centre during the next five years.
In 1937 The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL) started loaning clothing and other baby care products to poor families and after 1949 to everyone. In order to receive this package the mother needed to register to the public healthcare system. This concept can be seen as the forerunner of today’s maternity grant.
The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA) has been in charge of the Finnish Maternity Package and its distribution since 1994. Today KELA is providing around 60 000 maternity grants each year.