>>UN HONOURS MARGARET KENYATTA
The prestigious award is for the First Lady's 'Beyond Zero' campaign that has been highly applauded. EDGAR NYANDONG reports
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
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta