, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has been named the United Nations in Kenya Person of the Year 2014.
The First Lady earned the coveted title for her efforts to stop preventable maternal and newborn deaths in the country through her ‘Beyond Zero’ campaign.
She received a standing ovation as she was presented with the United Nations plaque during a ceremony at the UN offices in Gigiri, Nairobi during the 69th United Nations Day.
The First Lady was selected for successfully raising awareness and funds to address the plight of women and children in need of quality healthcare. The campaign resonates well with the Millennium Development Goals numbers 4 and 5 and in keeping with the ideals of the UN.
In her acceptance remarks, the First Lady dedicated the award to Kenyan men and women for supporting her fight to reduce maternal and early childhood deaths to beyond zero.
“For too long, the prospect of childbirth in Kenya to thousands of women has been tantamount to a death sentence. This is not acceptable. It must stop,” she added.
The First Lady said childbirth should be a joyous moment for families and communities and not a period of loss and mourning.
Through her ‘Beyond Zero’ Campaign, the First Lady has demonstrated that public-private partnerships can go a long way in supporting improvement of the health status of women and children.
She has since early this year been leading a team in the ‘Beyond Zero’ campaign that targets the reduction of maternal and newborn mortality.
“To date, we have delivered seven fully kitted mobile clinics to Taita Taveta, Narok, Isiolo, Homa Bay, Wajir, Baringo and Samburu counties. These are counties that have some of the highest maternal and newborn mortality rates in the country,” she said.
The First Lady pledged her commitment to ensuring that each of the 47 counties has a fully-equipped mobile clinic to ensure no ‘more women die while giving life and no more babies die from preventable causes’.
Reducing maternal deaths, she added, requires a concerted multi-sectoral investments, hence the need to address other social determinants including girl-child education, gender equality, roads infrastructure, sanitation and clean water among many others.
The First Lady thanked the United Nations family for supporting the noble cause saying their assistance together with many others would save and transform the lives of many Kenyan women and children.
The First Lady also acknowledged the support of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyan world class athletes and thousands of Kenyans who joined her in the Nairobi half-marathon and the memorable run in London.
The award ceremony now on its 12th year was graced by among others top United Nations representatives and the Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Amina Mohamed.
The Cabinet Secretary lauded the winner for championing a noble cause that has earned worldwide recognition.
She appealed to people of goodwill to support the First Lady in her efforts to raise funds for the purchase of the remaining 27 mobile clinics.