Maternal and adolescent health in Kenya receives a boost
Kenya’s free maternal healthcare initiative received a major boost when the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Lions Clubs District 411A that will intensify service delivery to women and girls.
Kenya is at risk of not achieving MDG Five on maternal health due to its high maternal mortality rate that sees more than 5,000 women die every year from pregnancy-related complications.
Overseeing the signing of the memorandum was Cabinet Secretary of Health James Macharia, who welcomed Lions Club’s partnership in the realisation of the Kenya Vision 2030 and the Millennium Development Goals, especially MDG Five on reducing maternal deaths.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in the presence of the visiting Lions International President Joe Preston.
“I am pleased that the Lions Club and UNFPA have signed this important Memorandum of Understanding to support the Ministry of Health. This partnership between UNFPA and Lions Club will support the First Lady’s “Beyond Zero” Campaign and accelerate the UN’s MDG Five as well as focus on the wellbeing, protection and support to the adolescent girl.”
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the District Governor of Lions Clubs District 411A, Davinder Singh Eari and UNFPA Kenya Representative Siddharth Chatterjee.
“I would like to request the President of Lions International to mobilise additional resources from Lions Club International Foundation to support maternal and child health in Kenya,” requested Macharia.
The Memorandum of Understanding comes at an opportune time when the Ministry of Health, with the support of UNFPA and Kenya Red Cross Society are scheduled to host a high level Conference of 15 Governors whose counties account for over 60 percent of maternal deaths in the country.
The Governors’ Conference took place on August 5th and 6th, 2014 in Nairobi and was attended by county leadership and health executives.
The meeting explored solutions that will impact positively on the lives of millions of women and girls and save them from death due to pregnancy.
“This Memorandum of Understanding is in support of the First Lady’s clarion call that ‘no woman should die while giving birth’, said Chatterjee.
“We as the Lions Clubs are proud of this initiative,” Preston said. He added: “Under the Memorandum of Understanding we will donate ambulances to the Ministry of Health facilities in order to strengthen patient referral systems; construct maternity waiting homes, improve infrastructure and provide mobile clinics in selected Counties, especially in areas where geographical access is a barrier to mothers seeking skilled delivery services.”
Lions International is the largest service club in the world having been founded in 1917. Currently, Lions International has 46,000 clubs in 206 countries with 1.35 million members.
The partnership will also support the UNFPA and Ministry of Health rollout of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for adolescent girls aged 12-13 both in and out of school in selected counties.
Further, the partnership will aggressively campaign against harmful practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or cut as well as early and forced child marriages that limit the full realisation of the human potential of adolescent girls..