Irene Githinji @gitshee
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s Beyond Zero Campaign is to be reactivated through a strategic framework that positions it as a key player in the delivery of universal healthcare for Kenyans by 2022.
This was among main messages announced yesterday as President Uhuru Kenyatta and his wife Margaret led Kenyans in marking the International Women’s Day, with the Head of State reiterating that the government is committed to delivering universal healthcare by 2022.
The President and the First Lady spoke yesterday at State House, Nairobi, during the launch of another programme phase by the Beyond Zero campaign. Beyond Zero Campaign, which in 2014 began a series of fund-raising activities in aid of mother and child healthcare is expected to return to the limelight as a participant in the universal healthcare agenda.
Coordination of the implementation of this framework will be done through the Beyond Zero secretariat with support by the Inter-Agency Steering Committee and the Beyond Zero technical working group.
The President said the government wants to put more effort towards achieving not only affordable but also universal healthcare and subsequently have a more healthy nation in addition to ensuring poverty eradication.
In the effort to achieve universal healthcare, the Office of the First Lady through the Beyond Zero initiative intends to generate a catalytic platform to help deliver on this commitment. The First Lady launched the second strategic framework 2018-2022 for the engagement in promotion of healthy living and well-being of women, children and adolescents.
The framework identifies nine intervention areas targeting citizens across the human development cycle.
These include promoting access to quality of maternal and neo-natal healthcare services, advocating for repair and re-integration of women living with obstetric fistula and championing validation for the pre-elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis by 2021.
Other interventions include promotion of good nutrition, advocating for social inclusion of children living with disability for equal access to health and education, mobilising partnerships to deliver adolescent and young people health programmes and advocating access to comprehensive healthcare and social protection.
“We must learn from our experience, through data, and through listening to our partners — so that we can hasten the day when no Kenyan woman or child goes without the care they need. These children are the future of Kenya,” said the First Lady.
She called for the need to re-dedicate synergies for a healthier and better future, saying this time the resolve to register even more significant strides must be pushed harder.
The President feted his wife whom he described as his “friend, companion, steadfast supporter, quiet and humble”, as he also celebrated all women during the auspicious global occasion of the International Women’s Day was celebrated yesterday.
The new framework, said the First Lady, adopts a life-cycle approach, addressing challenges at different stages of life as Kenyans move from childhood to adolescence, adulthood and old age. She said they have thought through the broader frameworks under which to work, and the partnerships that make that work possible.
“That is why this new framework is decisively shaped by the lessons its predecessor taught: it is integrated with the Sustainable Development Goals; with Vision 2030 and the government’s commitment, under the Big Four, to provide Universal Health Care by 2022,” she said.
She added: “These goals have never been more important; and we have never been closer to achieving them than we are now. This is the time to push, and to push hard.”
Margaret Kenyatta said she looks forward to consolidating her contribution to support solutions that address social issues in the country, initially by revamping existing health centres and in time, by putting up a special mother and child Beyond Zero Hospital.
President Uhuru called for harmonisation of health programmes being implemented by both the national and county governments in an effort to reap maximum benefits. “When we support an initiative like Beyond Zero, it is because we will achieve a lot by embracing partnerships. I call upon everyone to do that which you can to support these initiatives,” he said.