Every child counts

UNICEF supports the Government of Kenya to achieve Universal Health Coverage

Daisy Serem
President holds a baby
UNICEF Kenya/2018/Serem
28 June 2018

On 27 June 2018, the President of Kenya H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta launched a joint initiative to significantly improve the health and well-being of children and women. The campaign is a collaborative effort led by the Ministry of Health, with funding to UNICEF from GAVI and the World Bank, to strengthen health systems in Kenya and ensure improved immunization coverage for all children.

Through this initiative, USD 22 million has been injected into the health system to expand the vaccines cold chains supply system, provide medical equipment for maternal and neonatal health, as well as 20 vehicles and 48 motorbikes for county immunization outreaches.

In 2017, more than 500,000 children were not reached with lifesaving vaccines due to a nationwide nurses’ strike, alongside other challenges. This gap exposed the country, especially vulnerable and poor communities, to disease outbreaks such as Measles and Polio.

The Ministry of Health is working with UNICEF, WHO and other partners on a 100-day accelerated rapid results initiative to immunize all children who missed out on vaccinations. Speaking during the launch of the nationwide immunization campaign, the President said:

“It is a priority of my Government to promote and protect the health of our children. Indeed, the failure to immunize children will not only undermine their health and human dignity but will also occasion national risks such as disease outbreaks.  I am therefore pleased to launch the National Rapid Results Initiative on child immunization which will increase the number of children that are immunized against killer diseases.”

UNICEF is a leading partner for the Ministry of Health in ensuring the survival and wellbeing of children and m

others. Together with WHO, UNICEF works to ensure quality and safe vaccines are made available at no cost in public health facilities. In addition to cold chain equipment, UNICEF has procured Maternal and Neonatal Health equipment, including ultrasound machines and patient monitors through funding from the World Bank.

The Deputy Representative to Kenya, Patrizia DiGiovanni says, “Every Child in Kenya has the basic right of being immunized. UNICEF is committed to the achievement of Universal Coverage for immunization and other high impact, low cost lifesaving maternal, newborn and child health interventions.”

The launch event held at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) brought together national and county government officials, including Governors from several counties and the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Ms. Sicily Kariuki. Also in attendance were UN agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Society and Medical Practitioners – all with a common agenda to promote the right to quality healthcare for every child.

This strategic partnership with the Government of Kenya marks a significant milestone by UNICEF, WHO, GAVI and the World Bank, in investing and building strong health systems that prioritize maternal, neonatal and child health, to keep every child alive.