, NEW YORK, United States, Sep 27 —President Uhuru Kenyatta has renewed Kenya’s commitment to end preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents.
The President said his government will undertake all necessary actions to make maternal and child deaths a thing of the past.
He spoke when he joined other heads of state and governments and the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to launch the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health.
President Kenyatta pledged to increase government spending on health care services to make it accessible and more affordable.
“I pledge to take the needed sustainable actions to end all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents within a generation and ensure their well-being and we hold ourselves accountable for our collective progress towards this goal,” said the President.
The President said Kenya commits itself to progressively increase government allocation to health with particular focus on women, children, adolescents and HIV to meet WHO global recommendations.
The government will also continue providing free maternal and child health care services.
Additionally Kenya will implement laws, policies and strategies that support gender equality and women’s empowerment.
President Kenyatta said the government will support and strengthen efforts to implement strategies to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services and information to adolescents.
He called on other nations to also increase their political and financial commitments to deliver on the goal to end all preventable maternal, child and adolescent deaths within a generation and ensure their wellbeing.
President Kenyatta said Kenya’s experience over the last few years has shown that increased spending on women and children health can deliver concrete results.
“Momentum for progress and change for women and children has grown steadily in Kenya, with improvements in skilled deliveries and in the contraceptive prevalence, which rose from 44 per cent to 62 per cent and 46 per cent to 58 per cent respectively,” said the President.
During the same period in Kenya, child mortality decreased from 74 per 1,000 live births to 52 per 1,000 live birth and neonatal mortality decreased from 31 per 1,000 live births to 22 per 1,000 live births.
“I affirm my support to the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health 2016-30 as a global effort to bring all stakeholders together in support of countries’ work to improve women, children’s and adolescent’s health and well-being,” said the President.
At the launch of the global strategy, the UN Secretary General announced that $25 billion in initial commitments to end preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents by 2030.
Kenya has been a frontrunner in aligning government policies to improve maternal and child health. Besides the proactive State strategies, the Beyond Zero campaign championed by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has also made huge contributions to reducing maternal and child mortality.
Partnerships going on between the Kenya government and the private sector to improve maternal and child health got special mention at the United Nations.
In a press release preceding the launch, the UN said Safaricom, MSD, Philips, GlaxoSmithKline, Huawei and Kenya Healthcare Federation have signed on to a new public-private partnership to harness the strength, resources and expertise of the private sector to improve the health of over 3.5 million women, newborns, children and adolescents.
“The initiative is aligned with the Global Financing Facility, in close collaboration with the Government of Kenya, the World Bank, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and other partners,” the UN said.
Other leaders who expressed their commitment at the launch included Prime Minister Hailemaryam Desalegn of Ethiopia and President Arthur Peter Mutharika of Malawi. The First Lady of China, Peng Liyuan, also spoke at the function.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore was also among the speakers who were given the privilege to join the heads of state and government on the high table to deliver speeches at the event.