Kenyan First Lady: more needs to be done to curb maternal, child mortality

Margaret Kenyatta crosses the finish line at the Beyond Zero half marathon.

Margaret Kenyatta crosses the finish line at the Beyond Zero half marathon.

The First Lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta has called for an urgent need to ensure that all mothers and children access critical healthcare, saying facts and statistics of the senseless deaths that continue to occur are staggering and sad.

The First Lady made the appeal while speaking at the Project C.U.R.E. First Ladies’ fund raising luncheon on Friday that was attended by over 1500 Corporate heads, investors and political leaders at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Resort, in the US State of Arizona.

The annual First Ladies Luncheon event was launched in 2006, with the intention of bringing awareness to the humanitarian efforts and fundraising opportunities lead by First Ladies all around the world.

In addition to joining forces with Project C.U.R.E., the Kenyan First Lady has also created her own initiative, called the Beyond Zero Campaign which aims to bring prenatal and postnatal medical treatment to women and children.

The Kenyan First Lady received a standing ovation from the attentive audience in Arizona, after explaining why she chose to run marathons rather than enjoy the comfort and trappings of her status.

“I have spent a significant portion of my time as First Lady running marathons and I can understand if that doesn’t immediately strike you as behavior befitting the wife of a Head of State, but I assure you, it has all been for the greater good,” Mrs Kenyatta said.

Strong emotions were manifested across the hall as video clips of the first lady running marathons in the country were showcased as she gave her powerful address. Attentive members of the audience visibly shed tears. “It is a race to save lives. We are racing against time”, she said.

Her brainchild, the beyond zero campaign, has so far seen the delivery of 36 mobile clinics across the country.
The First Lady emphasized that 36 clinics so far acquired by Beyond Zero have been freely and indiscriminately distributed across the country. Funds have also been raised to purchase and distribute the remaining 11 units.

The First Lady of Arizona State Angela Ducey and Mrs Cindy McCain, wife to Arizona State Senator, John McCain also attended the luncheon sponsored by Melinda Taylor of RTI international.

The funds raised during the luncheon will enable Project C.U.R.E – an international medical supplies relief organization operating in over 130 countries – to ship more medical supplies to Kenya.

The first such consignment worth Ksh40 million and destined for Chemolingot Hospital, East Pokot, in Baringo County will arrive in Kenya in the next two months.