Globally, individuals, as well as organisations, institutions, governments and state agencies continue to make efforts in a bid to secure good health as outlined in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 Agenda of ‘leaving no one behind’.
The agenda resonates with Beyond Zero, which was started in 2014. Then, survival rates for pregnant women in Kenya were low and the prevalence and transmission of HIV among infants an urgent issue.
We outlined five key priority areas of focus. Together, we have worked hard to find solutions by investing resources, and concentrating our energies to turn around the distressing data on preventable maternal and child deaths, mother-to-child transmission of HIV, new HIV infections among adolescents and the increased burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
I have committed to run marathons - a cause that has been immensely supported by Kenyans of goodwill.
Through this collective dedication, we have seen the impact of Beyond Zero mobile clinics and the Beyond Zero medical safaris, launched in 2018.
Together with the Ministry of Health, government agencies, donor agencies, NGOs, health stakeholders and individual Kenyans, we have made progress in saving the lives of mothers and children and reversing the mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
These feats gave us the impetus to develop the 2nd Beyond Zero Strategic Framework (2018-2022), which revolves around critical intervention areas that cut across the entire life cycle — pregnant women, infants, youth, adolescents, men, people living with disabilities and the elderly.
We support the governments’ advancement towards universal health coverage (UHC).
On December 3 last year, we launched the Beyond Zero Half-Marathon 2020 whilst observing the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The event’s theme focused on empowerment of persons living with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
I am especially hopeful of our country’s commitment towards the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2022.
Besides, through the concerted efforts of various players in the health sector, we have seen increased awareness on reproductive health risks caused by obstetric fistula.
But our work is not finished.
The worrying trend of increased cancer hurts our families, our communities and our nation.
In addition, the increase in new adolescent HIV infections threatens to disrupt Kenya’s opportunity to reap our demographic dividend from a youthful generation.
I will continue to invest in training and skills building for community nurses and health workers by increasing Beyond Zero scholarships from 100 to 200 in the next year.
Through the Beyond Zero race on Sunday, March 8, I will be counting on your support to rebuild or refurbish and equip specialised health units to better serve the populations in marginalised areas, even as I look forward to my dream of a Beyond Zero referral centre for mothers and children.
Seeing you at the starting line on Sunday, March 8.
Mrs Kenyatta is the First Lady of Kenya. [email protected]