Women to benefit from Sh1 trillion fund

A pregnant lady ,Gender minister Naomi Shabaan laments over increased cases of pregnancies in Kwale county as she challenges female students to ‘hold their horses’ as they still got a long future ahead of them.Photo Elkana Jacob
A pregnant lady ,Gender minister Naomi Shabaan laments over increased cases of pregnancies in Kwale county as she challenges female students to ‘hold their horses’ as they still got a long future ahead of them.Photo Elkana Jacob

Kenyan women will benefit from Sh1.2 trillion fund that has been committed towards maternal, child and adolescent health.

The money will be channeled through a global financing facility, which was launched last week during the Third International Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

It will support the UN’s Every Woman Every Child initiatives in Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, in the first five-year phase.

Health cabinet secretary James Macharia says child mortality has declined by more than 20 per cent since 2008 and the fertility rate for the first time is less than four.

“Stunting, which remained stubbornly high over the past two decades, has declined and the country has attained the Millennium Development Goal target on stunting. Six out of ten expectant mothers now receive skilled care at childbirth and over half receive postnatal care. However, more needs to be done,” he said in a statement.

Macharia added that the growing commitments provide opportunities to improve the health of women, children and adolescents.

“If the world is serious about the health-related SDG targets, it needs to make serious investments – both at domestic and international levels.

“We look forward to working with countries as they develop their investment plans and determine what their major needs are in these areas, and support their efforts towards meeting the ambitious goals of the global strategy,” World Health Organisation director-general Margaret Chan said.

The fund will mobilise between $3 to $5 dollars from the private capital markets for every $1 dollar invested into the facility.

Canada is jumpstarting this initiative with a Sh4 billion ($40 million) investment towards strengthening front-line health systems and scaling-up of community health workers, and the control of malaria to reduce child mortality.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Japan, and the United States have committed $214 million. This is in addition to commitments previously made by Norway and Canada of $600million and $200 million, respectively.