Health Champions to be Honored in Beyond Zero Fete

DSC_2577NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – Kenyans who have championed for the health rights of mothers and children and contributed to the reduction of their deaths will in August, this year be honored by Her Excellency the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, for their efforts.

Health Principal Secretary Dr. Nicholas Muraguri said in a speech on Wednesday that the awards, dubbed First Lady Beyond Zero awards, would be granted to selfless individuals who have gone against all odds to save these lives.

He added that these individuals would be feted at a leadership summit based on deliberations that result from a two day meeting between National and County leaders that will close on Thursday.

“We want to travel the unbeaten path and we do not want to go for the usual awardees. We want to go for traditional birth attendants, chiefs, neighbors and even farmers who have even spent their own money to help mothers access maternal services,” he explained.

Concerted efforts between various health workers, leaders and the average Kenyan have all contributed to significant gains in the reduction of maternal-infant mortality rates.

This year’s awards will be the pioneer.

“Much has been achieved because three years ago, 100,000 babies would die every year before their fifth year and they would die because we had failed. We are now saving 30,000 children each year and we are working towards eliminating these deaths,” said Dr. Muraguri.

Aside from contributing towards the reduction of maternal deaths and the increase in the uptake of immunization, the Beyond Zero Campaign has also created awareness on these health issues.

It is based on four thematic areas and is aimed at accelerating economic and social development in Kenya by facilitating a healthy Nation.

The Campaign continues advocating for maternal, neonatal and child health through various programmes. These include preventing and treating HIV transmissions, providing healthcare for pregnant mothers, increasing accessibility to immunization schedules, provision of mosquito nets, encouraging exclusive breastfeeding of all infants for the first six months and increasing awareness on cancer prevention.