The President regretted the alarming number of teenagers suffering silently from HIV/AIDS in the country and who are not on Antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs
Proper usage of Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs maximally suppresses the HIV virus and stops the progression of HIV disease. The use of ARVs has witnessed the reduction in the rate of death and suffering among victims in Kenya
The Head of State said it is only prudent that stakeholders join hands to help the victims lead a normal life.
“It is just a question of care; let us just identify who they are and let us treat them as normal human beings and give them the care they need and am certain we would be able to reduce mother to child transmission to almost zero,” the President said.
He spoke during a two-day Kenya Inter-Religious Consultative Forum on ending maternal deaths at Windsor Golf and Country club, Nairobi.
President Kenyatta said the Constitution provides health stakeholders with the opportunity to tailor interventions according to the specific needs of the different communities.
In an effort to reduce maternal deaths, the President said, free maternity services provided by Government have increased the number of women giving birth at health facilities from 450,000 a year to over 700,000.
The President said the Government prioritises simple interventions that can effectively address barriers for accessing essential care for pregnant women.
“Simple interventions such as user fees, distance to service delivery points, and lack of qualified birth attendants are within our reach and require priority attention,” he added.
He said the Government is equipping two health facilities in every county with state of the art medical equipment, to ensure specialized health care is brought closer to the people.
President Kenyatta said the medical equipment provided to county hospitals will also decongest the three national referral hospitals in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu.
He lauded the First lady’s Beyond Zero campaign to provide mobile clinics in all the counties for complementing the impact of Government’s health sector reforms in the areas of maternal and newborn health care.
“So far 21 counties have benefitted from this initiative and more will be acquired through fundraising efforts including the First Lady’s Marathon scheduled for this Sunday 8th March,” President Kenyatta said.
He thanked development partners including the US, UK, Danish, Japanese and German governments, multilateral agencies such as the Global Fund, GAVI and the World Bank Group, and the UN agencies for supporting the health sector with new commitments totalling over US Dollars 2 billion during the next 4 years.
Adding, “The Ministry of Health supported by the World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Fund have, in the last few months, mobilized over 70 million dollars to advance maternal and child health.”
He commended the 15 County Governors with the highest burden of maternal deaths who came together to ensure that “no woman dies giving life”.
“I congratulate the Governors of Garissa, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Kakamega, Kisumu, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Migori, Nairobi, Nakuru, Siaya, Taita-Taveta, Turkana and Wajir for being courageous and sensitive to the needs of mothers,” he said.
The President encouraged further Partnership between practitioners in health and faith based organizations which manage about 40% of the health facilities in the country.
He said religious leaders are at the core of the community and play an important role in shaping its opinions, values and practices.
“The clergy have well-established networks, capacity to reach rural and hard-to-reach populations and they are respected and trusted in local communities,” the President added.
Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia said the move by the Jubilee Government to offer free maternal services coupled with the ‘Beyond Zero’ campaign spearheaded by the First Lady has enabled 80% of women to access quality health care.
“We are targeting Kenyans living in slums. In Kibera, we are now witnessing a lot of change. Women in slums are now accessing quality health care services,” he said.
Kisumu County Governor Jack Ranguma said the reduction of maternal and child mortality requires a multi-sectoral approach.
Other speakers included the chairman, Inter-Religious Council of Kenya who is also secretary General of SUPKEM Sheikh Adan Wachu, Head of the Anglican Church Bishop Eliud Wabukala and the United Nations resident Coordinator Ms. Nardos Bekele Thomas.