Involve men in health issues, says First Lady

George Kebaso @Morarak

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called for the involvement of men in initiatives concerning health of mothers and children.

Speaking in Nairobi during the opening of  a conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) yesterday, Margaret said the government should  safeguard the gains made in reducing maternal mortality from 488 to 362 per 100,000 live births in the last decade.

“We must encourage increased male involvement in MNCH and commit to strengthen our entire health systems in pursuit of Universal Health for all,” she said.

Some of the interventions include, piloting and scaling up innovations for enhanced demand generation, service delivery efficiencies and quality of care enhancements to support the country’s ambitions to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Experts stressed the importance of ensuring mothers and children are immunised and their nutrition improved.  The Africa Union Commission (AUC) also said increased skilled birth attendants; scaling up both post-delivery interventions, institutionalising child and maternal death surveillance are key to ensure that no more deaths are recorded by 2030. 

“Response and expanding male involvement in MNCH, among others, can greatly reduce preventable deaths,” AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira Elfadil said.

Health Cabinet secretary, Sicily Kariuki said despite the gains made, yawning regional differences call for significant interventions.

She said basic vaccination coverage stands at 36 per cent in West Pokot and Mandera on one end, while it is over 95 per cent in Nyamira, Nandi, Kiambu, Kirinyaga and Tharaka Nithi  counties on the opposite end. 

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