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The First Lady who inspired a Nation. (Margaret Kenyatta)

It had become, and regrettably so, obvious that many women succumb to pregnancy related complications in Kenya. Many women in Kenya, especially in the rural areas and informal settlements (slums) had come to accept maternal deaths just like any other inevitable death. The ministry of health, the communities and even the numerous companies running many CSR programs seemed not to be focused on solving this issue.

However, back in 2014, a very prominent person, a person well placed to lend a strong voice to the campaign did just that. Kenya’s first lady Margaret Kenyatta launched the beyond zero campaign initiative. It was her brain child, a baby she carried to term and delivered to the Kenyan woman. Beyond zero campaign is an initiative geared towards combating pregnancy related deaths and offering Prenatal and Postnatal maternal care.

The main concept of the campaign revolves around providing well equipped mobile clinics that would serve all corners of the country.  This is no mean feat as it takes a lot of work and dedication to achieve it. The first lady, Margaret Kenyatta, understood this and knew very well that, it would not be enough to launch the program in front  of flashing TV cameras and then to retreat to a corner office waiting for boardroom briefings.

She was hands on, she inspired and mobilized people, she was not only innovative but also dedicated. She did (and by so doing, inspired many women) launch the first lady marathon. The uniqueness was not about it being a ‘first lady marathon,’she took part in the marathon. In the first and 2nd editions taking part in the 21 kilometer race while in third edition, she took part in the 10 kilometer race.

Thanks to the dedication of the first lady, the initiative has already  handed over 47 mobile clinics. That means one mobile clinic for each of the 47 counties on Kenya. These clinics are not just clinics, they are a symbol of hope to many women, women who had been  scared of what future held for them.

Find out more about the Beyond Zero initiative.

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