NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – Melinda Gates has pledged support to First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s Beyond Zero campaign that targets eliminating maternal and child mortality in Kenya.
Speaking Tuesday when she paid a courtesy call on the First Lady at State House, Nairobi, Mrs Gates said the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation will partner with the Beyond Zero initiative to scale up access to quality healthcare services for mothers and children.
Already, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports several health initiatives in Kenya working in close collaboration with the government.
She said it is for this reason that her foundation would like to work closely with the Beyond Zero campaign to ensure more women, children and adolescent girls access better health services.
“We have been working in Kenya for quite some time and our focus has been on various sectors including agriculture, health, financial services and social justice,” said Mrs Gates.
She said the foundation is also collaborating with county governments to facilitate projects that would make positive impact to Kenyans living in the rural areas.
Mrs Gates, who was briefed on the activities of the Beyond Zero Initiative and the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), said she would work closely with the two organizations to advocate for maternal and child health as well as bring on board men to participate in health promotion activities.
The First Lady also updated Mrs Gates on the positive impact her Beyond Zero campaign has had on Kenyan families especially on creating awareness on issues of maternal and child health.
“What made me initiate this campaign was the high statistics on maternal and child mortality,” said the First Lady.
She also talked about the 9th “Stop Cervical Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa” Conference which was held in Nairobi last year.
The First Lady said it was encouraging to see more men undergo screening for prostate cancer, saying this is an indication that more Kenyans men are now taking issues of family health seriously.
“When we held the 9th Stop Cervical Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa last year, the clinics were on the ground and most of the clients were men,” said the First Lady.
Mrs Gate commended the First Lady for her initiative, pointing out that her influence in society has brought to the fore front issues which help in achieving development goals.
Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri said through the free primary education policy and bursaries offered at secondary school level, more girls are now empowered to make informed choices on their health.