First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, to attend the 72nd Session of the World Health Organization’s World Health Assembly which kicks off on Monday, May 20.
The World Health Assembly is the largest meeting of health policymakers and actors drawn from across the world, where major decisions on health are made and experiences shared.
On arrival, the First Lady was received by Dr. Cleopa Mailu, Kenya’s Ambassador to Switzerland and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, and staff of the Kenyan embassy in Geneva.
Besides the World Health Assembly, the First Lady will be the Chief Guest at the “Walk the Talk” run organized by the World Health Organization which will take place on Sunday.
The theme of this year’s run, which advocates for the promotion of health and physical activity as part of a healthy sustainable future, is “health for all”.
Addressing the press ahead of the First Lady’s arrival, Amb. Mailu said the First Lady was selected to headline the “Walk the Talk” event in recognition of her frontline role in advocating for access to quality healthcare for all Kenyans.
“As you know, Her Excellency the First Lady has been doing marathons. She has also been spearheading the Beyond Zero Initiative which has become a brand in the world on how First Ladies can advance the cause and health of the citizens of a country,” Amb. Mailu said.
Amb. Mailu added that First Lady Margaret Kenyatta will lead several global dignitaries during the “Walk the Talk” event whose purpose is to create awareness throughout the world on the benefits of healthy living especially in the protection of life, prevention of sicknesses and avoidance lifestyle diseases among populations.
Besides attending the World Health Assembly and her involvement in the walk, the First Lady will participate in several side events aligned with Kenya’s Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pillar of the Big 4 Agenda including one dubbed, “Adolescent health, the missing link in UHC”.
“Universal Health Coverage, which is the theme of this year’s World Health Assembly, fits well with the Kenya Government’s Big 4 Agenda,” Amb. Mailu said, adding that the WHO meeting will help enrich efforts by Kenya to attain her ambitious UHC goals.
Amb. Mailu said adolescent health fits well with the First Lady’s Beyond Zero Initiative which has fashioned new innovative structures of health delivery and strengthened existing ones.
The First Lady has also been invited to the UNAIDS headquarters in Geneva where she will give a keynote address on the elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (eMTCT) of HIV.
“She is invited to participate as a keynote speaker to tell the world what she has done and to share her experiences in our country so that others can have some lessons to learn from our First Lady,” Amb. Mailu said.
The visit to Geneva will provide the opportunity for the First Lady to engage with leaders in the health sector who will be attending the World Health Assembly.
“The take-home message is that the First Lady’s visit to Geneva is placing Kenya on the global arena as far as matters health are concerned,” Amb. Mailu said.
The First Lady is later Saturday scheduled to hold talks with World Health Organization Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.