, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 — The wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Cherie, has expressed her interest to partner with the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta in achieving the dream of constructing a model referral hospital.
The construction of the hospital, under the First Lady’s Beyond Zero initiative, which is expected to start in the next phase, will be an all-inclusive facility with more focus on maternal and child healthcare.
Mrs Blair described the First Lady as a practical person who needs support from well-wishers to accomplish her goal of putting up the hospital at a more cost effective manner.
She presented the First Lady with innovative ideas of designing a hospital aimed at providing vital services to the people who need them and recommended the engagement of International Hospitals Group (IGH).
She said the group which is known for its objective and personalised approach to each healthcare project would be able to facilitate the First Lady in putting up a modern facility with all the requirements.
Mrs Blair is in the country courtesy of Safaricom Company with which she has partnered with in a mentorship programme aimed at empowering women.
The Cherie Blair Foundation and Safaricom Company have so far been able to mentor 225 women who are working with communities in Kibera slums.
She said her foundation is using technology to reach out to women so as to help break down cultural barriers and enable them gain skills and confidence they need to excel in life.
“Through technology women have now become more bold in expressing themselves about their health issues and they are more courageous to get tested than men,” said Mrs Blair.
Safaricom Chief Executive, Bob Collymore commended the First Lady for being in the forefront championing issues of child and maternal healthcare in the country.
He noted that since she began her Beyond Zero campaign many corporate organizations have come out to partner with her in tackling maternal and child healthcare issues.
“The high profile campaign of Beyond Zero helped the country achieve the Millennium Development Goals on health,” said Collymore.
Collymore also said technology has made life easier for women as they can now achieve most of the basic services they require through mobile phones.
The First Lady thanked Mrs Blair for her moral support saying she already has the land for putting up the hospital and that soon the project will take off.
Asked about the services provided through the Beyond Zero Mobile Clinics, the First Lady said so far the 47 fully equipped clinics have rendered health services to over 600,000 people across the country.
“These clinics are like mini- health facilities. Through them the medics do HIV/AIDS testing, cancer check-ups, maternal and child healthcare services among many other health activities,” said the First Lady.
The First Lady said the Beyond Zero initiative has helped raise more awareness on healthcare among Kenyans who are now more free in expressing and availing themselves for testing of HIV/AIDS and Cancer check-ups.