NAIROBI – Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has urged Kenyans to embrace active lifestyle as a first line of defense against non-communicable diseases including cancer.
The First Lady emphasized that physical exercise has many benefits to the wellbeing of the human body, most importantly being the prevention of illnesses.
“Let us be proactive and embrace a healthy and active lifestyle. This way, we will help keep cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure at bay,” she said.
The First Lady was speaking on Thursday at Engineer in Nyandarua County where she officially launched the 4th Beyond Zero Medical Safari where thousands of Nyandarua residents will receive various free medical services during the three-day camp that started on Wednesday.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, at the same, underscored the importance of cancer screening and early detection in combating the disease that has become a major concern in the country.
“Cancer screening for breast, cervical and prostrate saves lives. I am encouraged to see that today so many men and women have come out for the free screening,” the First Lady said.
She commended the Government for putting in place additional measures to fight cancer including increasing budgetary allocation as well as the number of health centres for chemotherapy and radiology across the country.
“The aim is to make services more accessible to all Kenyans as well as improving the pricing and availability of drugs,” she said.
The First Lady also affirmed her commitment to promoting the health of babies and children.
“As a mother, I know the pain severe child illness causes. That is why I have prioritized the well-being of babies and children in my work by promoting pre and postnatal checkups for mothers to enable them deliver healthy babies,” the First Lady said.
She also spoke on the need for children born with disabilities to be protected and commended the National Council for People with Disability for registering disabled children at the medical safari to enable them to benefit from the Government social protection programme as well as other services including health.
“We need to work together to ensure our children are protected and given the opportunity to live in dignity, not discriminated against,” she said.
The First Lady praised Nyandarua County that boasts of an eighty-six percent delivery in health facilities, saying it is a shining example in the promotion of maternal health.
She also thanked the County Government of Nyandarua, the private sector, NGOs, UN Agencies, the media, doctors and volunteers for supporting the medical safari.
“We can achieve much if we continue to join hands and work together. We are able to offer free medical services because of the partnerships we see here,” the First Lady said.
During the event, the First Lady also launched the Nyandarua County Business Plan for the elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (eMTCT) of HIV.
The business plan commits more resources to the county’s HIV response to guard against new infections from mother to child. This is in line with Kenya’s efforts towards the total elimination of new cases of HIV by 2030.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said health is a devolved function but unless the county governments work and collaborate with the national Government, provision of quality health services will be a futile exercise.
“That is why as a Ministry we are committed and we will continue to be committed in partnering with the counties wherever they are to make sure that needs to be done, that which the Kenyans desire in terms of healthcare is realized in accordance with the promises and commitments made by His Excellency the President,” the Health CS said.
Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia assured of his county’s total support to the President’s Big 4 Agenda especially the Universal Health Coverage.
Other speakers included Nyandarua Governor’s spouse Mrs Anne Kimemia, Kenya Pipeline Chairman John Ngumi, Aga Khan University Hospital Cardiovascular Department Head Dr Jelian Mohamed, Lion Eye Hospital Chief Development Officer Sushil Kumar and National Aids Control Council CEO Dr Nduku Kilonzo.
Before launching the medical safari, the First Lady visited the Engineer County Hospital where she commissioned the new 64-bed mother and child wing constructed by the county at a cost of Kshs 57 million.
County First Ladies Priscilla Oparanya (Kakamega), Ivy Kiptis (Baringo), Sheila Sang (Nandi), Sarah Tunai (Narok) and Priscilla Murungi (Meru) also attended the event.