Kenya First Lady, thousands run to save children
According to statistics, more than 72,000 infants die every year during delivery

Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Sunday joined thousands of fellow compatriots in a marathon aimed at raising funds to decrease maternal and child mortality in the East African country.

"Today we celebrate this special day by running and raising money to secure the future of our mothers and children," she said after completing the run.

More than 20,000 Kenyans from all walks of life joined the 21-kilometre run which started at Nyayo stadium, toured Nairobi and finished back at the stadium.

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec was among the participants in the run, which coincided with the International Women's Day.

Despite its commitment to maternal healthcare, Kenya continues to make slow progress on the issue, with a maternal mortality rate of 488 deaths per 100,000 deliveries.

The East African country has committed itself to reduce these deaths to 147 by 2015.

Spearheaded by the First Lady, the Beyond Zero Foundation was formed in 2014 to partner with the government in reducing maternal and child mortality.

"To date we have delivered 21 mobile clinics to 21 counties," said Mrs. Kenyatta.

"We need to raise additional funds to purchase more clinics so that each of our 47 counties would have a mobile clinic to satisfy the healthcare needs of our mothers and children," added the first lady.

She aims at raising 600 million Kenya shillings (roughly $6.5 million) to ensure every woman in Kenya delivers safely without endangering her life or that of her baby.

According to statistics from the Beyond Zero campaign, more than 72,000 infants die every year during delivery.

The statistics also show that more than 8,000 children die annually before they reach five years.

"We are here to support the cause with the first lady and also to support the cause that no woman should die while giving birth," Esther Kariuki, a 36-year-old mother told AA while taking part in the race.

"I am a mother of two, so I really support this cause," she said.

Last Modified: 2015-03-09 12:46:14
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