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Beyond Zero Marathon set for March as First Lady pledges to step up efforts for healthier country

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First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Tuesday relaunched the Beyond Zero marathon, promising to step up work towards a healthier Kenya.

She registered as the first participant for the First Lady’s Half Marathon, which has been renamed the Beyond Zero Marathon.

Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s wives Rachel and Ida also signed up to participate in the event scheduled for March 10 next year.

The marathon relaunch-cum-stakeholders luncheon at State House, Nairobi, was attended by several governors’ wives and representatives from the diplomatic corps, UN bodies, corporates, NGOS, Ministry of Health, donor agencies, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals.

The inaugural FLHM was held in March 2014, followed by two other events in 2015 and 2016 before taking a two-year break.

The First Lady also participated in the 42km London marathon in 2014, followed by further training sessions in Japan and Addis Ababa.

The marathons are aimed to create awareness and draw the attention of stakeholders to the challenges of maternal and infant health in Kenya. They also aim to raise resources to increase access to healthcare for mothers and their babies.

The First Lady said despite the successful milestones made by Beyond Zero, largely enabled by resources mobilised through the marathons and partners, her work towards quality and accessible healthcare, is far from over.

“Our work will require stepping up our joint efforts, rededicating our energies, and building our collective resolve towards a healthier and better future for Kenyans,” Kenyatta said.

United Nations Resident co-ordinator Sidharth Charterjee said Beyond Zero had redefined the ecosystem of reproductive health in Kenya through good partnerships and convergence of policy.

He said the UN will continue working with the First Lady to ensure the success of both Beyond Zero and the Universal Health Coverage, whose pilot programme President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to launch next week in Kisumu.

Health CS Sicily Kariuki said the drop in HIV transmissions between mothers and babies was largely attributed to Beyond Zero’s elimination of Mother-to-Child-Transmission programme.

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