, KWALE, Kenya, Dec 3 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has appealed to the County Government of Kwale to devote more resources to the health sector to bridge the shortfall of medical facilities in the county.
She said medical facilities in Kwale are not enough to provide adequate services to the residents of the county.
“The average distance to the nearest health facility falls short of the recommended three kilometres. These factors have contributed a great deal to a worrying child mortality rate,” the First Lady said.
The First Lady spoke at Lunga Lunga when she handed over a ‘Beyond Zero’ fully kitted mobile clinic to Kwale County. The mobile clinic – the 16th facility delivered under the ‘Beyond Zero’ initiative – was sponsored by Dangote Foundation. It was received by Governor Salim Mvurya on behalf of the people of Kwale County.
She said through the First Lady’s Half Marathon, she will continue to run to raise funds and awareness towards securing a healthy future for mothers and children. She urged Kenyans to turn up in large numbers for the run slated for March 8 next year in Nairobi.
Noting the need to put more resources to the improvement of the health sector, the First Lady encouraged well-wishers to complement efforts by the County Government and the National Government in addressing maternal and early childhood deaths.
“The doctor-patient ratio in Kwale underscores the need to place additional attention and devote extra resources to the health sector,” she said.
The fact that many mothers in Kwale deliver at home without the help of skilled medical personnel, the First Lady said, is a situation that needs to be addressed urgently.
On HIV/AIDS, the First Lady commended the Ministry of Health for bringing down the HIV prevalence from 10.5 percent in 1996 to 6 percent currently.
She, however, expressed concern that despite the marked improvement, HIV/AIDS statistics are still alarming.
“For instance, 35 children are newly diagnosed with HIV every day and 1.6 million Kenyans are infected with the virus. Last year alone, we lost almost 60,000 Kenyans to AIDS related causes,” she said.
The First Lady said that one of the principal reasons behind the launch of the ‘Beyond Zero’ campaign was to fight HIV/AIDS.
During the occasion, the First Lady presented Kwale SACCO cheques to women groups from the county.
Speaking during the occasion, Governor Mvurya commended the First Lady’s sacrifices to improve the health of mothers and children.
“We thank you for presenting us with this mobile clinic. It will go a long way towards complementing our efforts in the health sector,” the Governor said.
The Governor disclosed that the County has embarked on employing 220 health workers, saying already 100 hundred have been deployed.
He said the County has set aside Sh1.4 billion for the health sector while Sh100 million will be used to upgrade Msambweni Hospital to a referral status.