NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Pamela Achieng’ Sombe has been named the United Nations Person of the year in Kenya for her work in promoting maternal health, one of the Millennium Development Goals.
Achieng’ who is a nurse at a remote public dispensary in Nduru Koli, Nyanza where there is minimal equipment was awarded on Monday for her work in ensuring safe delivery of expectant mothers.
“I decided to make maternal health a priority in my work because a baby whose mother dies is not likely to survive. I take time to educate women about their health, I encourage them to attend ante natal care,” Achieng’ stated in her acceptance speech.
Government statistics indicate that at least 6,000 women die in Kenya annually from pregnancy-related complications.
“I appeal to the government and development partners to help equip and staff dispensaries to handle deliveries,” she petitioned.
The runner up was Leah Mwangi from Kijabe who was recognised for her environmental efforts.
United Nations Office in Nairobi Director General Sahle-Work Zewde noted that as the world population is set to hit the seven billion mark at the end of this month it should be seen as strength rather than a challenge.
“Around the world, too many people live in fear; too many people believe their governments and the global economy can no longer deliver for them. In these turbulent times there is only one answer- unity of purpose. Global problems demand global solutions,” she said during the ceremony which also marked the 66th anniversary of the United Nations.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka applauded the recipients of the awards whom he termed as selfless.
“As I was listening to Achieng’ and her concern for the women, how I see the heart of a truly caring Kenyan mother and I think the UN is big enough to accompany this presentation with a little cash award. It will make all the difference because these recipients do represent the whole communities,” he said.
The awards scheme was introduced in 2002 to recognise individuals and institutions whose work has promoted the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
Other Kenyans who have in the past received the award are Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet and Supreme Court Judge Njoki Ndung’u.