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Friday, January 21, 2022

First Lady hosts Beyond Zero summit 2021

It was pomp and colour as First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Friday hosted the second Beyond Zero Summit where she feted outstanding nurses and midwives for their contribution to promoting primary healthcare in the country.

Speaking during the meeting held to take stock of the progress made towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the First Lady appreciated nurses and midwives across the country for playing a leading role in the promotion of maternal, newborn and child healthcare.

“Today, I stand before you filled with gratitude, anticipation, admiration and pride. I am grateful to everybody here – and the countless across the country who are watching – for your tireless work to improve the health and well-being of women and children.

“It is a special day for Beyond Zero because it gives me the honour and privilege to recognize and appreciate the role of our health workers, especially nurses and midwives for their outstanding accomplishment in communities in which they serve. To me you are all winners,” the First Lady told Summit participants who included nurses and midwives drawn from across the country.

In strict adherence to the Ministry of Health Covid-19 protocols, each of the 47 counties sent one representative to receive the awards from the First Lady at the Beyond Zero Summit held at State House, Nairobi, on behalf of the 578 finalists out of the over 10,000 nurses and midwives who participated in the contest.

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The First Lady noted that the theme of this year’s summit which is “increasing investment for primary healthcare” resonates well with the investments Beyond Zero has made to help forge a stronger, more equitable and more accessible healthcare for all.

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In this regard, the First Lady emphasized the need for more investment in disease prevention and advocated for healthy lifestyles alongside the delivery of quality healthcare at community level.

Speaking on the progress made towards the attainment of UHC and the Sustainable Development Goals, the First Lady said the devastating effects of the Covid-19 had reinforced the importance of a strong health system that includes a robust workforce at primary level.

She lauded the existing partnerships among different health stakeholders, saying it has contributed positive results in helping the country move forward towards achieving UHC.

At the same time, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta affirmed her support to the reduction and elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis as the country progresses on the path to validation by 2022.

“Our commitment towards the elimination of social injustices against women and girls including female genital mutilation by 2022; and ending all forms of gender-based violence by 2026, remains a priority for the Government,” the First Lady said.

Other speakers at the summit included Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi, Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang’ Nyongo who is also the Chair of the Council of Governors Committee for Health, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian, and Chief of Staff in the Office of the First Lady Ms Constance Gakonyo.

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As part of the summit proceedings, UN Resident Coordinator Stephen Jackson,  National AIDS Control Council CEO Dr Ruth Masha, Nursing Council of Kenya CEO Edna Tallam Kimaiyo, Acting Kenya Medical Training College CEO Dr Kelly Oluoch and Roche’s Head of Philanthropy Peggy Grueninger participated in a panel discussion which recommended for, among other things, increased collaboration in funding of training for primary health workers.

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The summit concluded with a Beyond Zero health awards call for action read by Mr Daniel Okuku which affirmed the commitment of the nurses of Kenya to re-energize their efforts and support to the achievement of UHC.

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