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SPEECH BY H.E.

MARGARET KENYATTA, THE FIRST LADY OF THE REPUBLIC OF


KENYA, DURING THE OPENING OF THE REFURBISHED KENYATTA NATIONAL
HOSPITAL GOLDEN JUBILEE NEW BORN UNIT
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to join you this morning to launch the refurbished neonatal unit at Kenyatta National
Hospital, a project aimed at improving the survival of very vulnerable members of our population; the
newborns.
They too have a fundamental right to life and the highest standards of health. These precious infants are
at greater risk and we owe it to them to improve their chances of survival because they are our future.
This is the first Kenya @50 legacy project that has been completed and we are grateful to Safaricom
Foundation for investing Kshs.50million in the rehabilitation of this newborn unit. This is the real spirit
of Public-Private Partnerships and is what we have always advocated for - local solutions for local
problems affecting our people.
The Kenyatta National Hospital is our largest referral facility in the country catering for patients from
all walks of life and from all corners of Kenya.
Unfortunately, over the years, it has suffered dilapidation due to the growing number of patients
seeking services, putting a strain on the hospitals infrastructure.
The newborn unit caters for approximately 100 babies per day, which is a huge number. It is only
prudent therefore to ensure that the infrastructure in this facility is up to standard to ensure the survival
of the newborn children.
The handover of this newly refurbished neonatal ward is a great milestone for Kenyatta National
Hospital. It will improve health care delivery for newborns and will go a long way in reducing the
neonatal deaths at this hospital.
According to statistics, more than 100 000 children die before their fifth birthday here in Kenya, largely
due to preventable causes. This is why this project is close to my heart as it complements what we are
trying to achieve through the Beyond Zero campaign.
The campaigns aim is to promote maternal, neonatal and child health in the country. This was in
recognition of the fact that our maternal, neonatal and child deaths were still very high.
It is also aimed at accelerating the gains we have made as a country in reducing maternal, neonatal and
child deaths. As you are aware, this year the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will expire and
we will move to the newly created Sustainable Development Goals.
As we take stock of what we have achieved from the goals and targets we set 15 years ago, we need to
ask ourselves what we have done as the public and private sector, towards the realisation of the MDGs.
Kenya has made great strides towards the achievement of MDG 4 and 5 of reducing child mortality by

two third between 1990 and 2015 and reducing by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio. However,
we are not yet there and this is the reason we need to scale up our support for our mothers and children.
Having not achieved the set goals and targets does not mean that we give up. We have to persist until
we get to Zero maternal and child deaths.
Before I conclude, let me say that I am overwhelmed by the amount of support from Kenyans, private
sector and our International friends for the campaign. I take this opportunity to thank all those who
have been supporting us as we all look towards a healthier Kenya.
Through the initiative, we have so far been able to provide 18 mobile clinics to counties with the
highest maternal, child mortality and HIV burden in the country.
I urge all of us to unite in this cause. One way you can contribute directly as an individual in is this
effort is to join us in the 8th March 2nd Edition of the First Ladys Half Marathon.
I thank you all.