On March 4, 2015 In Statements and Speeches

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. It gives me great pleasure to be part of this very important meeting as we deliberate on a matter of great national importance: maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in our country.

  1. Childbirth should be a joyous moment for families and communities. Mothers are the gateway to family and child health. As we know, the wealth of a nation is closely associated with its wealth.

  2. It is therefore a matter of great concern to my Government that in this country, as many as 21 women die every day while giving birth.

  1. Simple interventions that can effectively address barriers for accessing essential care for pregnant women such as user fees, distance to service delivery points, and lack of qualified birth attendants are within our reach and require priority attention.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Most maternal deaths are avoidable and indeed preventable. My Government has a clear vision on healthcare for all Kenyans. In an effort to reduce maternal deaths, my Government is providing free maternity services, which has led to an increase in the number of women giving birth at health facilities from 450,000 a year to over 700,000. In this connection, I wish to commend the dedication of healthcare personnel who work under very difficult circumstances to save the lives of women and babies in the country.

  1. To complement the impact of my Government’s health sector reforms in the areas of maternal and newborn health, the First Lady launched the Beyond Zero’ campaign, which seeks to reduce child and maternal deaths by launching mobile clinics in every county. 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.

  1. Dear Kenyans, the Constitution of Kenya 2010 has given us the opportunity to tailor interventions according to the specific needs of the different communities by devolving health services and bringing them closer to the people. I would like to thank the Governors and County Governments for the excellent work they are doing to improve health services.

  1. My Government recognizes that the current health infrastructure is inadequate. We have embarked on aggressive initiatives to ensure better health infrastructure across the country.

  2. We are in the process of equipping two health facilities in every county with state of the art medical equipment, to ensure specialized health care is brought closer to mwananchi while also decongesting the two national referral hospitals.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. I am pleased to see several development partners actively supporting the health sector.

  1. Partners such as US, UK, Danish, Japanese and German governments, multilateral agencies such as the Global Fund, GAVI and the World Bank Group, and the UN agencies supporting the sector with new commitments of over 2 billion US Dollars during the next 4 years.

  1. In the last few months alone, the Ministry of Health supported by the World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Fund have mobilized over 70 million dollars to advance maternal and child health, a clear recognition by the international community of Kenya’s commitment to “every woman and every child”. As we seize these opportunities, let us also harmonize such support with the national policies and commitments for Universal Health Coverage in the devolved health system to avoid unnecessary duplication.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. In August last year, 15 County Governors with the highest burden of maternal deaths, came together to ensure that “no woman dies giving life”.

  1. 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.

  2. Partnership between practitioners in health and faith based organizations has existed throughout our history. In Kenya, about 40% of the health facilities are managed by private not-for-profit organizations, which are largely faith-based. The role of religious leaders in maternal and newborn health provision can therefore not be ignored.

  1. Religious leaders are at the core of the community and play an important role in shaping its opinions, values and practices.

  1. The clergy have well-established networks, capacity to reach rural and hard-to-reach populations and they are respected and trusted in local communities.

  1. Faith Based Organizations have also helped to bridge the gap in healthcare through provision of primary health care services to the people. Apart from maternal health services, they also provide, immunization, emergency relief services, and training of healthcare workers.

  1. In view of this important role that religious organizations play in the community, over and above their spiritual nourishment role, I reiterate the call to action to end preventable maternal deaths in Kenya and invite the religious leaders to rededicate their efforts to this noble cause.

  1. In doing so, we shall not only safeguard the future of our mothers and our children; but we will also safeguard the future of our great nation.

  1. With those few remarks, Ladies and Gentlemen, I now declare this Consultative meeting on Ending Preventable maternal and newborn deaths Officially Open.

Thank you and God Bless you.


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