, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Margaret Kenyatta on Sunday launched the registration of the First Lady Half Marathon expected to take place in March 9 this year, in efforts to creates awareness of the ongoing ‘Beyond Zero’ campaign.
The ‘Beyond Zero’ Campaign seeks to mobilise citizens, the private sector and other stakeholders to come together to raise funds and help minimise HIV/AIDs, child and maternal health challenges.
Accompanied by various Governors’ wives, the First Lady called on Kenyans from all walks of life to support the initiative and raise funds to purchase 47 mobile clinics to be distributed to all counties.
“Mothers and children are suffering and dying in this country of avoidable causes, pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea and HIV transmitted from their mothers. It pains me, especially as a mother. But together we can make a difference,” she said.
The marathon will take place at Uhuru Gardens ahead of the London Marathon which she also plans to participate in, on April 14, 2014.
Appealing to all citizens to support the ‘Beyond Zero’ Campaign, the First Lady urged people to register their support by either participating in the Half Marathon or contributing any amount towards the noble cause.
“I have decided to do something I have never done before: I will run to make a difference for our mothers and children. Few of us know enough about HIV transmission from mothers to children, or about improving maternal, newborn and child health. If we don’t raise awareness, nothing will change,” Mrs Kenyatta noted.
On her part Engineer Esther Ruto from Bomet County called on women especially those in the rural areas who have access to health facilities, to take maternal health more keenly as best way of supporting the ‘Beyond Zero’ Campaign initiative.
“The County Ladies are going to support her in their specific counties to be able to reach out and educate women to go to the health centres during their pregnancy period and delivery because that is where the risks are,” Ruto said.
Others who participated in the event include Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Art Hassan Wario and Justice Njoki Ndung’u of the Supreme Court.
Some 100, 000 children in the country die annually before their fifth birthday largely due to preventable causes while 5,000 mothers die due to pregnancy-related causes.