First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Leads Campaign To Shield Infants From HIV/AIDS and Syphilis

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Leads Campaign To Shield Infants From HIV/AIDS and Syphilis

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called for a renewed commitment to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission (eMTCT) of HIV and Syphilis in the country.

She called for concerted efforts to accelerate the progress made towards achieving eMTCT through the promotion of stronger partnerships.

“I am convinced, that our successes rely on harmonised efforts from both the public and private sectors.

“I believe that our targets are achievable because of the solid partnerships we have built with you,” she said.

The First Lady spoke when she virtually addressed a partnerships meeting on accelerating the progress towards achieving validation for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis by 2021.

Records show that Kenya has made great progress towards the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and curbing maternal mortality with new HIV infections reducing by 47 per cent from 12,826 in 2013 to 6,806 in 2020.

This success is partly due to the Kenya Framework for the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis 2016-2021 launched by the First Lady in 2017 during a Beyond Zero Summit.

She commended the innovative implementation of the Kenya eMTCT Framework adopted by counties through the county business plan model.

“So far, we have successfully launched 11 county business plans. It is my hope that we, as partners, will commit to resourcing and supporting the remaining county governments on their respective journeys,” she said.

The county business plans provide for the sustainable and timely implementation of activities for counties to meet their unique eMTCT circumstances.

As the national patron and champion of eMTCT, the First Lady said her overall mission is to end preventable deaths of women and children as well as to eliminate new cases of HIV infections from mothers to their children.

She applauded the existing partnership between her Beyond Zero initiative and other health stakeholders including the national and county governments who have been working together in the promotion of maternal and child health.

“Since I began my own journey in 2013 with the Beyond Zero initiative, we have depended on partnerships with the national and county governments and other health stakeholders.

“As partners, we remain inspired to do what we can to realise a world free of HIV and syphilis transmission to new-borns. A world with zero maternal deaths,” she said.

She observed that it was through the support of partners that the Beyond Zero initiative was able to deliver 52 mobile clinics across the country, adding that the initiative extended its resolve to increase access to healthcare through the Beyond Zero medical safaris.

“Our work is driven by our understanding that access to decent and affordable healthcare plays a huge role in saving lives.

“So far, we have conducted successful medical safaris in Nyanza, North and South Rift, Central and Nairobi regions,” she said.

Noting that there are still significant healthcare gaps affecting Kenyans – particularly underprivileged women and children – which require urgent attention especially during the Covid-19 pandemic times, the First Lady said a lot of work needs to be done to curb the spread of HIV infections in the country.

“This is why The government of Kenya has committed, through universal health coverage, to scale up its efforts to improve access to HIV treatment to improve the health and the well-being of women and children living with HIV,” she said.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, in a statement, read on his behalf by CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi, commended First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for using her Beyond Zero initiative to rally the country behind the noble agenda of stopping new HIV infections among children and preventing mothers from dying while giving birth.