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First Lady comes off the ropes swinging, to host marathon in 2019

“She’s quiet and humble but as I and the children can testify, when required she can be very ‘kali’,” President Kenyatta shared at the launch event/PSCU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Thursday made public, the agenda for the Beyond Zero campaign for the next four years of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration.

In a presentation made by the National AIDS Control Council Director Nduku Kilonzo at the State House launch event on Thursday, the “strategic framework” is premised on the lessons learnt in the 2013-17 period of its existence.

The plan adopts a “life cycle” approach and factors in adolescents who are at high risk of HIV infection and takes into account the special sub-group of children with disabilities.

The Beyond Zero campaign whose activities are geared toward the promotion of maternal and child health, also aims to enlist the male population as champions of the cause by raising their awareness. “If they know what symptoms to look for, the men can be instrumental in ensuring expectant mothers get timely medical intervention where necessary.”

Part of the plan, the First Lady said, is to revamp existing facilities that cater to mother and child – and now adolescent – healthcare needs with an “ultimate” view to establish a “special mother and child, Beyond Zero hospital.”

The campaign also aims to raise awareness on fistula, as well as advance preventive and treatment efforts.

In line with the life cycle model, the Campaign also aims to augment the administration’s efforts in the area of social security for the elderly.

And given the lesson learnt that it would be counter-productive not to actively engage the adolescent population who are in any case the majority, Kilonzo said they aim to employ peer-to-peer mentorship.

READ: Uhuru campaign targets 130,000 kids with ARVs

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President Kenyatta welcomed the efforts which he said were in-line with his Big 4 agenda for the next four years underscoring the need for a coordinated intergovernmental approach in the push to meet the Sustainable Development Goals on Health.

Already, the UN Resident Coordinator Sid Chaterjee testified, the approach had yielded a remarkable decline in maternal and child morbidity in Mandera county.

When the First Lady first took up the cause, her goal was to raise sufficient funds – through a marathon – to equip each of the 47 counties with a mobile clinic.

The effort gained momentum with the private sector chipping in and with the general public turning up in their thousands for the marathon.

It earned the First Lady accolades but turned sour about the time the ‘Afya House Scandal’ hit the dailies and her fundraising efforts were criticised.

READ: 2017 First Lady’s Half Marathon cancelled

Making clear that her half-marathon is as much about raising awareness as it is fundraising, the First Lady came back swinging on Friday when she announced that she intends to host the next one in 2019 and prayed for the public’s support.

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