First Ladies Margaret Kenyatta and Melania Trump last Friday opened a new chapter in advocacy for maternal health and education for children in Kenya and the US.
At a private meeting held at State House, Nairobi, the two discussed their shared goals within their respective countries and emphasised the importance of maternal health and education for children.
The Kenyan First Lady is the patron of the Beyond Zero initiative that promotes health interventions for mothers and children, especially the elimination of mother-to-child HIV infections and the reduction in the transmission of the scourge among adolescents as outlined in the initiative’s first strategic framework.
During last week’s discussions at State House, Margaret gave the US First Lady a copy of Beyond Zero’s second strategic framework for 2018-2022 which she launched early this year.
The second strategic plan focuses on consolidating the gains made in the past four years and expanding the initiative to cover cancer and fistula, some of the health challenges that commonly affect women.
“I am deeply saddened by the fact that women and children in our country die from causes that can be avoided. It doesn’t have to be this way,” said the Kenyan First Lady when she launched the initiative four years ago in January 2014.
“This is why I am launching the ‘Beyond Zero campaign’ to bring prenatal and postnatal medical treatment to women and children across the country.”
On her part, Melania is the founder and promoter of the ‘Be Best’ initiative designed to improve the welfare of children.
“I feel strongly that, as adults, we can and should be best at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life,” the US First Lady said when she launched the ‘Be Best’ initiative in May this year.
During the maiden visit to Kenya, Melania accompanied by her host, visited the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Elephant nursery in Nairobi National Park.
The visit to the elephant orphanage followed talks between the two First Ladies held at the White House in August where the Kenyan First Lady, who accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta on an official visit to Washington DC, outlined her conservation efforts in Kenya including her adoption of a baby elephant christened Tundani some years back.
At the wildlife trust, they interacted freely with orphaned calves, sharing love and care by bottle-feeding them.
Angela Sheldrick, the Executive Director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust narrated moving stories of how the orphaned baby elephants were rescued and brought to the orphanage. She also briefed her US counterpart on the “Hands Off Our Elephants” initiative, a broad-based wildlife conservation campaign that targets to curb poaching in Kenya. First Lady Margaret is spearheading the initiative as its patron.
“I was awed by the beauty of Nairobi National Park and was very interested to learn more about Kenya’s conservation efforts,” said the US First Lady in a quote posted on the White House website.