China to inject more support into Kenya’s maternal, child health programs

Written By: Eric Biegon

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian had an online meeting with Maniza Zaman, UNICEF Representative in Kenya on Feb. 22 where they discussed health in Kenya. PHOTO / CHINESE EMBASSY IN KENYA

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration is keen to deepen cooperation with Kenya particularly on the rollout of public health services with an increased focus on improved access to antenatal care by women, especially in remote areas.

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The Chinese embassy in Kenya notes that Beijing is eager to strengthen the overall maternal health care, ensuring that all women give birth in medical facilities.

This was disclosed Monday at a meeting between the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Kenya Maniza Zaman.

During the online meeting, the two deliberated at length about the pressing need to escalate the provision of humanitarian and developmental aid to women and children, one of the key mandates of the United Nation’s agency.

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“The ambassador and the representative discussed the on-going project of China-Africa collaboration to catalyze and accelerate maternal, newborn ? child health (MNCH project), highly commending the collaboration and vowing to further cooperation in the field of the health in Kenya.” A statement from the embassy said.

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Ambassador Zhou noted that the MNCH project funded by the Chinese government and implemented by UNICEF, “aims to improve maternal, newborn and child health in eight counties in Kenya by increasing access to quality health facilities and medicines for newborns and mothers, capacity building of communities.”

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China’s pledge comes amid the realization that even though there has been progress in the provision of maternal health care leading to a reduction in mortality rates, there remains a significant number of mothers and infants who lose their lives during pregnancy and childbirth, particularly in rural areas and among poorer communities.

These deaths can be caused by a number of factors including haemorrhage, unsafe abortion, obstructed labour, infection, and high blood pressure, and which UNICEF says “can be prevented and treated with adequate and skilled healthcare that focuses on the health of the mother during pregnancy, labour and in the postpartum period.”

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Projections show that were the current trends to continue, millions of children in developing countries will die in the next decade before their fifth birthday.

On its part, China met the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals in the reduction of the number of maternal deaths ahead of schedule.

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