NAIROBI, KENYA – The Micronutrient Initiative (MI) joined new strategic efforts to tackle health and nutrition challenges faced by Kenya’s most vulnerable people. Funded by the Government of Canada, the Partnership for Strengthening Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition in Kenya (PSMNCHN), is a concerted commitment to support the Kenyan government’s efforts for stronger programs and greater impact.
The partnership was launched in Nairobi on November 24, 2017, during an event attended by the Canadian High Commission that brought together organizations responsible for carrying out five projects selected by the Government of Canada to improve the health of Kenyan women and children by 2020.
“We are all here because of our shared conviction that improving maternal, newborn and child health is one of the highest priorities, not only at the national level, but as part of the global development agenda,” said Sara Hradecky, Canada’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Kenya.
The partnership brings together seven development partners – Action against Hunger (ACF), Aga Khan Foundation, Amref, Helen Keller, Map International, MI and World Vision – for better collaboration, coordination, knowledge sharing and advocacy efforts as they implement different maternal, newborn, child health and nutrition projects. MI is part of the Partnership through its involvement with the ENRICH project.
The five projects selected received a total funding of $26 million from 2015 to 2020 to support activities in various areas of Kenya, namely in Kilifi, Kwale, Siaya, Mombasa, West Pokot, TransNzoia, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Migori, Kisii, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nyamira counties.
“The Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Health, places very high priority on maternal, newborn and child health in-order to improve their health to better the economic and social lives, in line with the blueprint in the vision 2030,” said Dr. Patrick Amoth, Head of the Division of Family Health, during his key note address while speaking on behalf of Dr. Cleopa Mailu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health.
With a theme of Holistic approach for improving health and nutrition in women, children and adolescent girls in Kenya, partnership members will contribute to progress inline with one or more of the four following paths:
- Strengthen health systems.
- Reduce the burden of disease for the vulnerable especially women and girls.
- Improve nutrition specifically for women and adolescent girls.
- Ensure accountability for results for both women and men.
During her opening remarks, Sara Hradecky, Canada’s High Commissioner, applauded Kenya for the significant efforts made towards maternal and child health.
“As a friend of Kenya, Canada made a strategic decision to join in the national efforts of the Government of Kenya to help improve on the low indicators of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, and adolescent health here in Kenya,” Sara Hradecky said. “And there are good reasons for doing so. Not only is this a priority for the Government of Kenya, but Kenya’s leadership in maternal and child health issues is also well recognized by the international community.”
MI Kenya country director Dr. Chris Wanyoike, and Chair of the Partnership, emphasized the critical goal of the partnership to ensure accountability for the projects’ resources, services, and results, for both recipients and donor.
Kenya has long suffered from high maternal, newborn and child morbidity and mortality rates.
Despite significant progress, there are still existing gaps in maternal and child health indicators across counties, including disparities between rural and urban populations and across education and income levels.
The Partnership aims to address these issues, including through the development and sharing of knowledge geared towards contributing to global evidence on maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition, as well as efforts to change and enrich policy at the country level.