First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has urged communities still practicing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to discard the outdated cultures that denied girls equal opportunities in education.
The First Lady said education will enable girls to exploit their full potential to be healthier mothers capable of raising stronger and loving families.
“With practices such as FGM still prevalent in this region, more needs to be done to ensure the girl child enjoys equal education opportunities as boys,” she added.
The First lady spoke at Moi Gardens in Kericho County when she handed over the 26th Mobile Clinic to the county.
The constitution, in article 53, talks about the elimination of all harmful cultural practices such as FGM, early marriages and all forms of abuse and violence against children.
She stressed the need to educate mothers and the community to change attitudes towards harmful practices that do not enhance the well-being of the children.
The First Lady also called on Kenyans to observe high standards of hygiene to be free from cholera and other preventable diseases.
She expressed concern that many Kenyans are dying from preventable diseases which can be contained by washing of hands and other simple methods of cleanliness.
She said the outbreak of cholera in 10 counties causing 52 deaths and over 2000 confirmed cases is as a result of poor hygiene.
The First lady stressed the need for county governments to maintain clean environments by ensuring proper sanitation and working drainage systems to contain spread of Cholera.
“As a preventive measure, we must keep our homes and surrounding environment clean to keep cholera at bay,” said the First Lady.
“Washing hands every time we visit our toilets is another sure way to contain the spread of the disease,” she affirmed.
She said Kericho County plays a leading role in Kenya’s agricultural sector with its high quality tea being enjoyed worldwide.
The First Lady challenged multinational companies operating in the County to support the National and County governments’ efforts to make accessible better healthcare services to mothers and children by donating more mobile clinics.
“Kericho County is blessed with various multinational industries which provide employment opportunities to many residents of this region besides making a huge contribution to the ex-chequer,” said the First Lady.
She urged the local community to discard retrogressive cultural practices that deny girls equal opportunities in education.
She said there is need to conserve the environment which is a lifeline of most of the agri-business economic activities undertaken in the country.
“The South West Mau Forest lost more than 1000 acres of trees to fire recently. We must re-plant the trees and safeguard further loss of our forests for adequate rainfall to drive agricultural production,” said the First Lady.
The First Lady called on Kenyans to join her in raising awareness of cancer, a disease that has become another major health challenge in the country.
The 9th stop cervical, breast and prostate cancer conference Kenya is hosting in July will raise awareness and mobilise support against the disease which she said cuts across all ages and genders.
“Breast, cervical and prostate cancer can be controlled by adopting a healthy lifestyle and early screening,” said the First Lady.
The Mobile clinic, donated by Tullow Oil Company, was handed over to Governor Paul Chepkwony.
Governor Chepkwony commended the First Lady for her splendid efforts in alleviating the suffering of the less fortunate especially women and children.
“The passion you have for humanity is exemplary, you are beyond materialism,” said Professor Chepkwony.
The Governor said he will personally ensure effective management of the ‘Beyond Zero’ Clinic to ensure it gives service to those who need it most.
Other speakers included Principal Secretary for Health Dr. Khadija Kassachoon, Governors’ spouse Mrs. Linner Chepkwony and National Aids Control Council Chairperson Prof. Mary Getui.