NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 17 – The United Nations has commended Kenya for remarkable progress it has made in the achievement of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
As the world marks the deadline of the MDGs this year, UN Resident Coordinator Nardos Bekele-Thomas said Kenya’s major score was the 2010 Constitution which created 47 counties.
“We have seen progress – significant progress – including the whole movement towards the establishment of one of the best Constitutions in the world, which led to one of the best instruments for equity in this country which is devolution,” she stated during a media briefing in Nairobi on Thursday.
Though Kenya has been tripping and falling behind county politics and controversies, Bekele-Thomas called for support to devolution, which she identified as a major intervention in spreading resources and development equitably across all regions.
“Each one of us, we as partners and we as citizens have the responsibility to safeguard these instruments because they are significant to the social economic transformation.”
She further recognised interventions by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for her Beyond Zero Campaign that has restored hope and decency to mothers and their babies through provision of mobile clinics in Kenya.
“You must have been hearing all about our First Lady has been doing, excellent, brilliant work trying to address the maternal mortality problem,” she commended.
She was however concerned that the mortality rate was high in 15 counties which contribute to more than 97 percent of maternal deaths in the country.
She urged the national and county governments to prioritise and invest in reducing maternal and child mortality.
According to Devolution and Planning Director Gideon Mailu, “maternal mortality rates have been on the increase. We started at 414 deaths per every 100, 000 live births. Today as we talk, in every 100,000 births we are losing 495 mothers.”
In his view, the attitude of the people including medical personnel in those areas has not changed.
Communities are still stuck in cultures that discourage them from giving birth in modern health facilities.
Good performance on MDGs was recorded in provision of universal primary education, gender equality and women empowerment, combating HIV/AIDS and malaria as well as on MDG number 8 which advocates for global partnerships in development.
On goal number seven on sustainable environment, Mailu said Kenya was on track as it had managed a seven percent of forest cover.
Though Kenya’s effort to achieve the MDGs was commended it was not without difficulty.