>>UN HON­OURS MAR­GARET KENY­ATTA

The pres­ti­gious award is for the First Lady's 'Beyond Zero' cam­paign that has been highly applauded. EDGAR NYANDONG re­ports

Diplomat East Africa - - Front Page -

First Lady, Mrs Mar­garet Keny­atta has been named the United Na­tions Per­son of the Year 2014 for Kenya. The pres­ti­gious award was made dur­ing the 69th UN Day ob­served at the UN Com­plex in Gi­giri, Nairobi on Oc­to­ber 24.

The award is due to her ‘Beyond Zero’ cam­paign which has set out a strate­gic frame­work for the con­trol of Aids/HIV, the pro­mo­tion of ma­ter­nal and child health in Kenya. It is meant to meet the Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goals Num­ber Four (in­fant mor­tal­ity) and Five (ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity). Kenya is lag­ging be­hind in the last two MDGs with in­fant mor­tal­ity still at 52 deaths for ev­ery 1000 live births, and 488 ma­ter­nal deaths per 100,000.

The cam­paign has also seen Mrs Keny­atta or­gan­ise and fin­ish the First Lady’s Half Marathon in Kenya, and the 2014 London Marathon to raise funds for pur­chase of mo­bile clin­ics that will be dis­trib­uted to all the 47 coun- ties in Kenya.

The cam­paign has so far pur­chased 20 mo­bile clin­ics. Seven fully kit­ted clin­ics have been de­liv­ered to the coun­ties of Taita Taveta, Narok, Isi­olo, Homa Bay, Wa­jir, Baringo and Sam­buru. Th­ese coun­ties have some of the high­est ma­ter­nal and new­born mor­tal­ity rates in the coun­try.

“We are not there yet, but we shall get ‘Beyond Zero’,” said the First Lady after re­ceiv­ing the award which she ded­i­cated to all Kenyan men and women who are work­ing hard to support erad­i­ca­tion of mother and early child­hood deaths.

“End­ing pre­ventable ma­ter­nal and new­born deaths in our coun­try is not a choice, it is a ne­ces­sity. Child­birth should be a joy­ous mo­ment for fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties, not a pe­riod of loss and mourn­ing. I am com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that each of the 47 coun­ties has a fully equipped mo­bile clinic be­cause no more women should die while giv­ing life, and no more ba­bies should die from pre­ventable causes,” she said.

The UN Res­i­dent Co­or­di­na­tor, Ms Nar­dos Bekele-Thomas de­scribed Mrs Keny­atta as "a self­less per­son who has made per­sonal sac­ri­fices for hu­man­ity, a mother like many, but who felt the pain of other moth­ers and de­cided to support an af­fec­tion­ate and car­ing mother who has demon­strated de­ter­mi­na­tion to ad­vo­cate and con­trib­ute to end child mor­tal­ity".

Ad­di­tion­ally, the For­eign Af­fairs Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary, Ms Am­ina Mo­hammed praised Mrs Keny­atta's ini­tia­tive.

“To­day I join other Kenyans and friends of Kenya in warmly con­grat­u­lat­ing our First Lady for re­ceiv­ing the UN Per­son of the Year award. Those like me, who grew up in ru­ral homes truly un­der­stand and fully ap­pre­ci­ate

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First Lady Mar­garet Keny­atta

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