Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is taking great strides for maternal health in the country through her Beyond Zero campaign. She says the campaign will take quality and affordable healthcare services closer to Kenyans.
Speaking after participating in the 21km inaugural marathon of the Beyond Zero Campaign on Sunday, 9th March in Nairobi, Margaret said the initiative will help address problems associated with maternal and child health in Kenya. AWLN member Jane Kiragu was one of the participants in the marathon, which resulted in sh. 100 million being raised for the cause.
“Every step we take today in this marathon takes the dream of quality and affordable healthcare services closer to the people. We ran because every baby should live to be strong and enjoy more birthdays. We ran for the elimination of HIV and Aids transmission from mother to child,” Margaret Kenyatta said.
According to the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women and Children’s Health 2013 update report, in 2012, more than 100,000 children died before their fifth birthday, largely due to preventable causes. In the same year, 13,000 new HIV infections occurred among children and 62 per cent of children living with HIV did not get ARV drugs.
She said her initiative will go a long way in providing quality services in all the 47 counties in a bid to eradicate maternal and infant deaths. President Uhuru received the First Lady at the finish line outside the historic Uhuru Gardens.
After the marathon, the First Lady received a Sh50 million cheque from Equity bank CEO James Mwangi and a Sh10 million mobile clinic ambulance from General Motors.
Health Secretary James Macharia, who also took part in race, praised the initiative saying it will complement the efforts his ministry is putting in place to provide quality and affordable healthcare for all.
“Maternal and child health is the responsibility of everyone. This noble initiative will go a long way in increased access to quality healthcare because every child and mother needs good facilities and services,” he said. Macharia said the initiative will help to accelerate the implementation of the Jubilee manifesto.
United Nations Millennium Development Goals list the reduction of child mortality as goal number four with a target of reducing by two-thirds the under-five mortality rate.
Sports Secretary Hassan Wario lauded the move saying sports can help to address various challenges within the community.
Margaret will run the London Marathon in April to raise awareness for the campaign, which Uhuru has termed commendable. She will be joined by four National Assembly members appointed by the Speaker, as well as Jane Kiragu.
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