First Lady of Kenya Mobilizes Resources to Lower Maternal Mortality Rates

Beyond Zero

Beyond Zero Initiative Improves Outcomes for Women and Children

“No woman should die giving life.” – The First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta

While the message is simple, it represents a difficult set of health challenges for women that have long been recognized around the world. Last week, we highlighted resources from two organizations working to lower maternal mortality rates in the United States – where the mortality rate is the highest in developed countries. With 99% of all maternal mortality deaths occurring in developing countries, Kenya remains one of the most unsafe countries for women giving birth.

Fifteen women die every day in Kenya due to pregnancy related complications and 20% of all deaths among mothers in Kenya are AIDS-related.

The Beyond Zero Campaign was launched in 2014 against the backdrop of the disturbing national HIV, maternal, newborn and child health indicators in Kenya.

It has since mobilized resources and created partnerships including the national and county governments, together with a host of other organizations and partners (including global) to improve health outcomes for women and children across the country.

Beyond Zero has the overall goal of eliminating all preventable maternal and child deaths in Kenya by 2023. Its four primary objectives are:

  • To increase awareness of the need for good maternal and child health and its relationship to a nation’s strength and prosperity.
  • To advocate national and county leadership to allocate resources and funds for HIV, maternal and child health programs.
  • To mobilize the support and participation of men in HIV control, maternal and child health services.
  • To inspire and promote a culture of accountability for results amongst leaders on their commitment towards meeting HIV, maternal and child health targets.

The Beyond Zero initiative has experienced remarkable progress. New HIV infections among children went from an estimated 13,000 in 2013 to 6,100 in 2016; while the percentage of mothers delivering without a skilled health provider decreased from 56% to 34% respectively. By January 2019, Beyond Zero had donated 52 fully equipped mobile clinics to the 47 counties in Kenya (some counties received more than one clinic) to strengthen the existing outreach programs and referral systems.

These impressive results demonstrate the value of result-oriented partnerships between government, public and private sectors. Next week we will feature a county in Kenya that has made significant progress through the Beyond Zero Campaign.

We welcome your feedback and encourage you to share any research or maternal mortality initiatives that you are involved in. If you have follow-up questions or suggestions, please email us at  [email protected]

Yours in Nursing,


Lisa D. Cole, MA, RN
Director
MBF Center for Global Nursing Development