Margaret Kenyatta relaunches Beyond Zero marathon, resolves to step up

Margaret Kenyatta relaunches Beyond Zero marathon, resolves to step up

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Tuesday relaunched the Beyond Zero marathon with a new resolve to step up her work towards a healthier Kenya.

The ceremony was kicked off by registering Maragaret Kenyatta as its first participant and the name of  the event changed from the First Lady’s Half Marathon (FLHM) to Beyond Zero Marathon (BZM 2019).

The First Lady said that before Beyond Zero rallied its partners in 2014, Kenya was considered to be among the most dangerous countries for women to give birth in.

“We started our work at a time when Kenya was considered to be among the most dangerous countries to give birth,’’ said the First Lady pointing out that health access, quality and care were the determinant causes for the unacceptable high mortality and morbidity rates among women and children at the time.

She added that despite the successful milestones made by Beyond Zero, the resources mobilized through the marathons and partners, her work towards quality and accessible healthcare, is far from being finished.

“Our work will require stepping up our joint efforts, re-dedicating our energies, and building our collective resolve towards a healthier and better future for Kenyans,” she said.

The First Lady also thanked the stakeholders for their support toward the realization of better health care goals.

“I stand before you filled with admiration, hope, and gratitude. Gratitude to you and countless others across the country, for your tireless work in your different capacities to improve the health and well-being of Kenyan families,” said the First Lady .

Rachel Ruto and Ida Odinga also signed up to participate in the event scheduled for March 10, 2019.

Also in attendance were several First Ladies from the counties and representatives from the diplomatic corps, UN bodies, corporates, NGOS, Ministry of Health, donor agencies, pharmaceutical companies, the media and hospitals.

The marathon is one of the key resource mobilization events for Beyond Zero, a flagship program aimed at saving the lives of mothers and children by preventing preventable maternal and infant deaths.

United Nations Resident Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Sidharth Charterjee said Beyond Zero had redefined the ecosystem of reproductive health in Kenya through good partnerships and convergence of policy.

He pledged that the UN family will continue working with the First Lady to ensure the success of both Beyond Zero and the Universal Health Coverage, whose pilot program President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to launch next week in Kisumu.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the drop in HIV transmissions between mothers and babies was largely attributed to Beyond Zero’s elimination of Mother-to-Child-Transmission (eMTCT) program.

The Managing Director of the Commercial Bank of Africa Isaac Awuondo who spoke on behalf of the corporates and the business community said the selfless health agenda by the First Lady had touched many lives across the country.

The relaunch of the marathon coincides with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which was marked on Monday.