Kenyan women unite to increase access to maternal and child health
26 March 2014
More than 100 leaders and representatives of women’s rights organizations from across Kenya came together on 24 March in Nairobi to discuss ways to stop new HIV infections among children by 2015 and improve the health of mothers in the country.
The women’s rights leaders meeting was co-organized by UNAIDS, UNDP, the National AIDS Control Council, the National AIDS and STI Control Programme and the Community Advocacy and Awareness (CRAWN) Trust. The event aimed to accelerate the momentum started by the First Lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta through the Beyond Zero campaign—an initiative to end mother-to-child transmission and AIDS-related maternal deaths in Kenya.
Speaking at the meeting, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Jan Beagle applauded the First Lady’s personal commitment and stressed that for UNAIDS, gender equality and human rights—including sexual and reproductive health rights—are non-negotiable elements to ensure effective HIV and health responses.
Government figures show that in Kenya AIDS-related illnesses account for one in five maternal deaths and 100 000 children under the age of 5 years died from preventable causes in 2012. According to WHO figures, Kenya currently dedicates 6% of its national budget—less than half of the 15% Abuja Declaration target—to the health sector.
“We need to leverage synergies across movements, bringing together the capacity and innovation of the AIDS response with movements to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls."
“Our involvement as the women’s movement is a game changer and will catalyse actions needed to bring the necessary changes and accelerate the achievement of the Beyond Zero campaign goals.”
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