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Kenya praised for leading role in women, children and adolescent health

14 July 2015, 09:56 PSCU

Nairobi - The World Bank has commended Kenya for playing a leading role in the promotion of women, children and adolescent health.

Speaking Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during a high-level “Every woman, child and adolescent” event, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim praised the Government of Kenya’s initiatives that have increased women, children and adolescents’ access to health services.

“Kenya is among the four Global Financing Facility (GFF) front-runner countries,” the World Bank President said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta informed the meeting that introduction of a new policy making maternity and primary healthcare services free has significantly improved the health of women and children.

He disclosed that the Government is targeting making universal healthcare possible in the coming years.

“As always, ambitious policies require equally ambitious funding, so we have allocated over 50 million dollars each year to support these new initiatives,” President Kenyatta said.

The Head of State singled of the First Lady’s Beyond Zero campaign – which aims at taking mobile maternal facilities to some of the most underserved parts of Kenya – as one of the initiatives that have boosted maternal and child health.

“She has shown exemplary commitment to the cause, running marathons to promote and raise funds for it,” President Kenyatta said, adding that the First Lady’s efforts have been rewarded with some success as she is well on the way to her target of availing 50 mobile clinics.

He expressed satisfaction at a renewed global momentum for improving maternal, child and adolescent health, saying the new emphasis on the “Every Woman and Every Child” initiative – which is personally led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – is eloquent proof of that fact.

The event also witnessed the launch of the Global Financing Facility in support of the “every woman, every child” initiative by the UN Secretary-General.

The President said: “GFF supports the causes that are dear to the First Lady of Kenya and I, and which are dear to Kenyans, and Africans across the continent.”

President Kenyatta noted that the growing national and international interest and commitment have opened up opportunities for Kenya to enhance domestic financing and effectively leverage donor support for smart and sustained financing for maternal, child and adolescent health.

He said the Government has led a design process for the development of the GFF investment case that leverages the capacity of key actors in the health sector including civil society and the private sector.

“I am very pleased we mobilized around 1.1 Billion from domestic and external resources to finance the GFF plan,” he said.

While the Government is increasing domestic investments in health, the President said support from development partners to frontload priority investments would be helpful to sustaining the momentum.

“Together, as I said, we can achieve our common goals, and make a true difference in the lives of women and children not just in Kenya, but across the continent,” the President said.

Kenya needs an additional $1.6 Billion in the next 5 years to deliver maternal, child and adolescent health effectively.

UN Secretary-General said the GFF initiative geared towards promoting women, children and adolescent health was not only a moral imperative but also made economic sense.

“The health of women, children and adolescents is a key component of socio-economic development,” the UN Secretary-General said.

Other speakers included Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen.

President Kenyatta also held talks UNAIDS External Relations Advisor Abdoul Karim Ben Wahab in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the GFF event.

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- News24

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