First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Wednesday launched a new model of delivering health services dubbed Medical Safaris in which a large array of medical service providers will come together to offer specialized services to the public at designated locations.
The new programme which is part of the enhanced Beyond Zero Initiative is part of the ongoing efforts geared towards achieving Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC), a key component of the Government’s Big 4 development agenda.
Addressing Narok residents who thronged Narok Stadium in their hundreds to receive the specialized medical services, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta expressed her confidence that the Medical Safaris initiative will enhance the Government’s agenda for universal healthcare by providing access to all Kenyans.
“We have committed to leave no one behind. We have committed to remain responsive to critical challenges by offering integrated specialized services to all groups in our life-cycle – pregnant mothers and their babies, adolescents and young people, adult women and men and elderly persons,” said the First Lady.
She pointed out that the Beyond Zero initiative is committed to contributing to the President’s vision for universal healthcare by conducting medical safaris around the country.
The First Lady said the initiative would also advocate for many Kenyans especially women to enrol into the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the Linda Mama programme so as to protect them from financial hardships associated with healthcare.
“It is my hope that all Kenyans are protected against financial hardships associated with healthcare,” said the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
She observed that Kenya still has significant healthcare gaps, which affect citizens.
“We all still have a lot to do to eliminate HIV transmission and reduce maternal and child mortality,” said the First Lady.
At the same event, the First Lady, who is also the national champion for health, launched Narok County’s Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (eMTCT) of HIV and Syphilis Plan that will contribute towards fast-tracking pre-validation of eMTCT.
The First Lady expressed optimism that with shared conviction and solid partnerships, Kenya will achieve its goal of a healthy nation.
The three-day event began on Monday with various activities, among them the identification of women and girls who require treatment for obstetric fistula including their re-integration into their communities; registration and assessment of children with intellectual impairment; enrollment of pregnant women into the Linda Mama NHIF programme; eye care for older persons; screening of cancers including provision of routine services such as immunization, HIV testing and counselling.
The Medical Safaris which at the core of the First Lady’s Beyond Zero 2ndStrategic Framework (2018-2022) that is anchored on the principle of leaving no one behind and adopts a life-cycle approach targeting pregnant women and newborns, infants and children, adolescents and young people, men, older persons and children with disabilities, and intends to increase the number of people with health coverage from the current 16.53 million to 25.74 million.
The integrated medical safaris programme will be implemented in collaboration with County Governments to enhance synergy towards universal healthcare and catalyze action towards strategic partnerships across counties, communities, the private sector and other Government agencies.
Speaking at the event, Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki  commended the First Lady for catalyzing sustained dialogue on maternal and child healthcare, as well as elimination of mother-to-child transmissions.
The Health CS said the First Lady’s efforts have greatly contributed to increased awareness and sustained resource investment towards maternal and child healthcare.
“With the launch of the First Lady’s Beyond Zero Medical Safaris we can only be optimistic of scaling greater heights. We all join you in appreciating that maternal, newborn and child health is the gateway to family health, Universal Health Coverage and a wealthy nation,” said CS Kariuki.
Narok Governor Samuel Ole Tunai commended the First Lady for her efforts in championing healthcare for the less privileged in society saying she is the nation’s foremost healthcare ambassador.
“You have given the Kenyan mothers and children hope and the desire to soldier on,” said Governor Tunai.
Partners who included Executive Director of UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa Dr. Catherine Sozi, UNFPA Country Representative Dr. Ademola Olajide commended the First Lady for her passion and zeal to improve the healthcare provision especially for the less fortunate in the society.
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