China pledges to back Beyond Zero initiative


First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Dr Liu Xianfa have called for enhanced co-operation between China and the Beyond Zero initiative.

The envoy said the people of China are particularly impressed with the work of the First Lady in health matters and her efforts in uplifting vulnerable communities in the country.

He said his government is keen for continued support of Beyond Zero initiative especially over the proposed Sh2.2 billion State-of-the Art referral hospital for women and children.

The envoy talked of China’s investment in offering bursaries to Kenyan students and recalled the story of Dr Mwamaka Sharifu from Lamu who was rescued from her disadvantaged background some years ago and offered a full scholarship to study traditional Chinese medicine.

Although from mixed Chinese and Kenyan ancestry, Dr Sharifu now wants to return to Lamu and work with local communities.

The meeting between the Ambassador and the First Lady comes ahead the May 14-16 Belt and Roads Forum for International Cooperation Conference in Beijing to be attended by more than 28 heads of Government and States among them, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Visit hospitals

During the conference, the the First Lady will visit various institutions including the Beijing Women and Childrens Hospital for shared insights that could be incorporated in the proposed referral Beyond Zero hospital in Kenya.

Margaret and the envoy also discussed the inspiring story of some Kenyan women who are expected to drive the new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) trains after completing their courses in China.

The women are part of a group of Kenyan students the China Road and Bridges Corporation, the SGR contractor, sponsored to undertake a railway course at China’s Baoji Railway Training College.

Others in the delegation included the envoy’s spouse Madam Li Ping, the Minister Counselor of the Chinese Embassy  Li Xuhang and  the Chief of the Political Section Niu Xiaoqiang and his Deputy  Liu Ying.

The First Lady launched the ‘Beyond Zero Campaign’ to improve maternal and child health outcomes in the country.

The initiative also aims to accelerate the implementation of the national plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children.

So far, all the 47 counties have received mobile clinics courtesy of the initiative with the Nairobi being the last county to receive.  While handing over the Nairobi clinic, the First Lady said it marks the end of Beyond Zero’s first phase, adding that the second phase will entail the construction of the proposed Sh2.2 billion referral hospital.

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