Maternal, child mortality have tremendously decreased – First Lady
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has said Kenya is among countries that have witnessed an incredible decrease in maternal and child mortality across the world.
She said it is deeply encouraging that women are today receiving better ante-natal care, than at any other time in history.
“The rate of maternal and child mortality has decreased, and more children are being immunized today, than at the turn of the century,” said the First Lady.
“We must celebrate the success we as a country, as a continent and as a world, have realized. Much has been achieved, and our progress must inspire us to keep going because the work is not yet done.”
The First Lady made the remarks when she officially launched the landmark Kenya Countdown to 2015 Country Case Study Report: Understanding the Past to Impact the Future in Ending Preventable Maternal, Newborn and Child Deaths at a Nairobi Hotel.
The First Lady said despite the milestones achieved in reducing maternal and child deaths across the world, there still remains too much disparity and inequity in access to health among some women.
“There are still too many hurdles that some women must leap to access the affordable care that is their right. And there is still death. One death, in giving life, will always be one death too many. One child’s death, which could have been prevented, is a heart-wrenching tragedy,” she said.
The Kenya Countdown report provides the much needed data to help policymakers and stakeholders with a roadmap that will help accelerate and provide answers to improve maternal and child health as well as achieve higher health targets.
Countdown to 2015 is a global movement established in 2003 as a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaboration, in response to a growing recognition that achieving the health-related MDGs would demand radical changes in scale and scope.
Countdown tracks progress in maternal, newborn and child health in the 75 highest burden countries to promote action and accountability, and follow through on commitments to the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.
Kenya, like all other countries where similar work has been undertaken including China, is expected to translate the research to policy through country dissemination.
The case study in Kenya was undertaken by various stakeholders, chief among them the Aga Khan University and the Ministry of Health.
Aga Khan University Trustee Princess Zahra Aga Khan and the University’s President Mr Firoz Rasul were among the dignitaries who spoke during the launch.
The First Lady applauded the spirit of collaboration between Aga Khan and the other stakeholders in undertaking the landmark research and coming up with the report.
She said the Beyond Zero Campaign and all its operations are undertaken through similar collaboration.
“Through the Beyond Zero campaign which I launched in 2014 – 4 marathons and 2 years later, the campaign has taught me one big lesson: the priceless power of positive collaboration—and I am so pleased to see that same kind of collaboration at play here today”, said the First Lady
The First Lady said the report now provides the country with the facts and recommendations of what needs to be done to close the remaining gaps in the health of mothers, children and newborns.
“We must remember that these numbers are people’s stories. We must be moved once again to a pledge to stand together to protect our mothers and to protect our children”, added the First Lady.
While addressing these health issues, she said, the country must also address and close the loop in the entire healthcare system and seriously tackle non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure that continue to claim many lives.
The First Lady congratulated the Aga Khan Hospital fraternity, not only for partnering in the research but its contributions in the training of healthcare professionals including doctors, midwives and nurses .
“I congratulate the Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery in Nairobi for contributing towards the pool of physicians in family medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics and child health”, said the First Lady.
Others who spoke during the launch included World Health Representative Dr. Custodia Mandlhate who also represented the UN family, Aga Khan University Foundation Dean ( Medical College, East Africa) Prof. Robert Armstrong and the Founding Director, Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the University, Professor Zulfiqar A, Bhutta.
Acting Director of Medical Services Dr.Jackson Kioko was also among the speakers.