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.
She spoke on 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 organised by Save the Children, a global non-profit organisation that advocates for the improvement of the lives of children through better education, healthcare and economic opportunities.
Mrs Kenyatta 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 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,” she observed.
Save the Children, established in United Kingdom in 1919, is celebrating 100 years of its existence and has presence in 120 countries, including Kenya.
Speaking at the same event, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Rashid Aman said his ministry is committed to reducing pre-term 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,” said Aman.
The CAS commended the First Lady’s contribution to maternal and child health, saying as a true leader she had 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.