REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE GLOBAL FINANCING FACILITY HIGH-LEVEL “EVERY WOMAN, EVERY CHILD” EVENT, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, 13TH JULY 2015

On July 13, 2015 In Statements and Speeches

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to join so many distinguished men and women at this vital event.  I am very pleased, also, to be able to share my country’s experience with you, and to consult on a way forward for the better health of African women, children and adolescents. Kenya’s challenges are similar to those shared by many here; as such, they will be familiar to you. Like you, we have made substantial progress in the last decade, especially where reproductive, maternal and child outcomes are concerned.  Child mortality has fallen more than twenty percent since 2008; stunting which had remained stubbornly high for two decades has declined to a level within the millennium development goals target; and more than half of our expectant mothers now receive skilled care at childbirth, and in the postnatal phase. These outcomes are, in part, the fruit of a new policy making maternity and primary health care services free, with a view to making universal healthcare possible in coming years.  As always, ambitious policies require equally ambitious funding, so we have allocated over 50 million dollars each year to support these new initiatives. But for all that progress, more needs to be done to improve access to quality reproductive, maternal, postnatal and adolescent health services. We will have to do more to reduce the geographic and economic inequities which still hinder the full enjoyment of good health for some of the more marginalized regions of our nation. One initiative that has served these purposes is the First Lady of Kenya’s Beyond Zero campaign.  The core aim of the program is to bring mobile maternal facilities to some of the most underserved parts of the country.  She has shown exemplary commitment to the cause, running marathons to promote and raise funds for it. I am pleased to see that her efforts have been rewarded with some success, and that she is well on the way to her target of 50 mobile clinics. That, then, is some of what Kenya has done to meet its challenges where maternal and child health are concerned. For my part, I am delighted to see there is also a renewed global momentum for improving maternal child and adolescent health. The new emphasis on the Every Woman and Every Child initiative – which is personally led by the Secretary General – is eloquent proof of the fact.  Indeed, there is a happy meeting of minds between the wider international community and ourselves. What remains for us is to keep this momentum going, so that we can meet, finally, the challenges that still hold us back. Given that thought, I am very pleased to note that these initiatives have resulted in establishment of the Global Financing Facility (GFF) at the World Bank, with substantial support from Governments of Norway, Canada and United States.  The GFF supports the causes that are dear to myself, the First Lady, and to Kenya as a whole. Now, the growing national and international interest and commitment to these goals open up opportunities for Kenya, and other African countries in a similar position, to enhance domestic financing and more effectively leverage donor support for smart, scaled-up and sustained financing for Maternal, Child and Adolescent health. After careful assessment of our needs, we believe that Kenya needs an additional USD 1.6 Billion during the next 5 years to deliver maternal, child and adolescent health effectively.  We believe that with your help, we can secure the funds we need to achieve our common goals. That belief, I am pleased to say, is based not just in our assessment of our need, and our long partnership with international institutions, but also on Kenya’s early involvement with this particular initiative. Kenya is among the four GFF front-runner countries, and my Government has led a design process for the development of the GFF investment case that leverages the capacity of key actors in the health sector including civil society and the private sector.  I am very pleased we mobilized around 1.1 Billion from domestic and external resources to finance the GFF plan. While my Government is increasing domestic investments, support from development partners to frontload some priority investments will be immensely helpful to provide momentum to this important agenda.  Together, as I said, we can achieve our common goals, and make a true difference in the lives of women and children not just in Kenya, but across the continent. I thank you, and look forward to fruitful discussion, both here, and in time to come.

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