, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta will on Tuesday relaunch the First Lady’s Half Marathon (FLHM) after a two-year break.
The FLHM is one of the key fundraising events for Beyond Zero, a flagship program aimed at saving the lives of mothers and children by preventing unnecessary maternal and child deaths.
The campaign also aims to eliminate Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (eMTCT) by 2020 besides scaling up the war against new HIV infections amongst adolescents.
The inaugural FLHM was held in March 2014 followed by two other successful events in 2015 and 2016 before taking a break.
The marathons are aimed at creating awareness and drawing the attention of stakeholders to the challenges of maternal and infant health in Kenya besides raising resources to increase access to healthcare for mothers and their babies.
In 2014, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta was a star participant in the gruelling 42km London Marathon, becoming the first spouse of a Head of State to undertake such high profile sporting event.
This was followed by more training sessions in Tokyo (Japan) and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
Since it’s launch in 2014, the Beyond Zero campaign has continued to complement the government efforts in health care provision by accelerating policy and program implementation.
The campaign has also closely partnered with several other stakeholders to successfully deliver healthcare services to the hard-to-reach parts of the country through 52 fully kitted mobile clinics.
These facilities are also used as platforms to promote health education in the counties and provide critical services like immunization, HIV and Aids testing, counselling and male circumcision while discouraging retrogressive practices like FGM.
Earlier this year, the First Lady launched the second Beyond Zero Strategic Framework (2018-2022) which expands the initiative’s healthcare programs to include previously neglected health challenges like obstetric fistulae, children living with disability and the increased involvement of men in reproductive health.
Partners invited at Tuesday’s event include First Ladies from all the 47 counties and representatives from UN bodies, corporates, NGOS, Ministry of Health, donor agencies, pharmaceutical companies, the media and hospitals.