SPEECH BY H.E. MARGARET KENYATTA, THE FIRST LADY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA, DURING THE HANDING OVER OF THE 26TH BEYOND ZERO MOBILE CLINIC TO KERICHO COUNTY ON 13TH MAY, 2015

On July 19, 2018 In Statements and Speeches

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, It gives me great pleasure to join you in Kericho today for the handing over of the 26th Beyond Zero mobile clinic to your county. On behalf of my team, I wish to thank you all for the warm welcome you have accorded us in Kericho, a town surrounded by beautiful and green landscapes and a fast growing agricultural hub that hosts the various communities from all over the country. Today’s ceremony marks a special occasion for your county because it comes only four days after the world celebrated the international Mothers’ Day. The spirit of the Mothers’ Day resonates well with the objectives of the Beyond Zero campaign whose primary aim is to reduce maternal and child mortality. Both the National Government and the County Government continue to do a lot to boost healthcare provision in Kericho, yet much more needs to be done. I invite the big companies operating in this region to come forward and team up with the campaign by donating one or two more mobile clinics to ensure all mothers and their babies access healthcare in this vast county. With practices such as FGM still rife in this region, much needs to be done to ensure that the girl child is able to enjoy the same opportunities as the boy child in education. Let us do away with these retrogressive cultural practices that have no place in the 21st century and ensure that girls have a safe future in which they can realize the full potential. There is also need for us to safeguard our environment as without it most of the economic activities in our country which are agri-based will be threatened. Recently, the South West Mau Forest lost more than 1000 acres of trees to fire during the just ended dry spell. Therefore, we must re-plant the trees and safeguard against further loss of our forests. This will ensure that we have adequate rainfall to drive our agri-business and sustain our food production. 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. The county has also continued to play a leading role in Kenya’s agricultural sector with its high quality tea being enjoyed worldwide making it a top foreign exchange earner. However, the companies should adhere to and respect our labour laws and avoid practices such underpayment for their workers and the employment of underage children among others. The companies should also implement the recently increased minimum wage to boost the standard of living amongst their employees, majority of who come from this county. The needs of female employees should also be looked into. They are entitled to adequate paid maternity leave to enable them take care of their babies. This is in line with the aspirations of the Beyond Zero campaign. Before I conclude let me mention two health issues close to my heart. Cholera is a preventable disease caused by poor hygiene. It has spread to 10 counties with 52 deaths so far and over 2000 cases diagnosed according to data from the Ministry of Health since the first outbreak was first reported in December last year. As a preventive measure, we must keep our homes and surrounding environment clean to keep cholera at bay. Washing hands every time we visit our toilets is another sure way to contain the spread of the disease. The county government must also do its part by ensuring all sanitation and drainage systems are working to contain any outbreaks and spread of Cholera. Secondly incidences of cancer- also a preventable disease- in Kenya have increased across all ages, social status and gender. We should eat healthy and exercise religiously to have a fighting chance against cancer. Finally, I ask you all to join me now, in handing over this 26th fully kitted mobile clinic kindly donated by Tullow Oil, to Prof. Paul Chepkwony the Governor of Kericho County on behalf of the people of this great County. Thank you.

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