First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called for concerted efforts to end malnutrition and premature births in Kenya.
The First Lady expressed confidence that with closer partnerships among stakeholders, it is possible to eliminate hunger and malnutrition that puts mothers at high risk of premature births and causes stunted growth in children.
“Working together, I am confident that this goal is possible in our lifetime,” the First Lady said.
The First Lady spoke Thursday evening when she presided over a fundraising dinner in support of initiatives to end malnutrition and premature births in the country.
The event was organized by Save the Children, a global nonprofit organization that advocates for the improvement of the lives of children through better education, healthcare and economic opportunities.
The First Lady underscored the need for policies that place marginalised individuals, groups and communities at the core of development, saying that is key in achieving national and global targets geared towards “leaving no one behind”.
She noted that good nutrition helps in preventing chronic diseases among infants, young children, adults and the elderly.
“Nutrition is recognised as a key determinant of health and wellbeing, therefore we must place the nutrition agenda high on our list of priorities,” the First Lady said.
She commended Save the Children for the role it continues to play in complementing government’s efforts in improving the lives of children and mothers.
“Your noble vision to reach every child with an education, health, protection and nutrition as well as livelihood interventions to combat poverty and ensure self-reliance complements Kenya’s national plan for children.
“Since you began your work in Kenya in the 1950s, the footprint of your mission to bring lasting change to children’s lives, to protect and amplify the voices of children especially those from marginalised communities and deprived areas is evident,” the First Lady said.
The organization which was established in the United Kingdom in 1919 is celebrating 100 years of its existence this year and has a presence in 120 countries including Kenya.
Speaking during the occasion, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Rashid Aman said the Ministry of Health is committed to reducing preterm births and malnutrition in line with the national and global targets.
“Through the implementation of programmes like the Linda Mama and the First Lady’s initiative – the Beyond Zero campaign, substantial progress has been made in reducing infant mortality contributing towards our aspiration of attaining Universal Health Coverage through a re-invigorated primary healthcare system and focus on preventive health,” Dr Aman said.
Dr Aman commended the First Lady’s contribution to maternal and child health, saying as a true leader she has moved beyond talk and become an example of real commitment to a cause.
Other speakers included Save the Children Executive Director of Global Programmes Gwen Hines and Save the Children Kenya Country Director Wang Le.