First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Dr Liu Xianfa have called for enhanced co-operation between China and the Beyond Zero initiative.
The envoy said the people of China are particularly impressed with the work of the First Lady in health matters and her efforts in uplifting vulnerable communities in the country.
He said his government is keen for continued support of Beyond Zero initiative especially over the proposed Sh2.2 billion State-of-the Art referral hospital for women and children.
The envoy talked of China’s investment in offering bursaries to Kenyan students and recalled the story of Dr Mwamaka Sharifu from Lamu who was rescued from her disadvantaged background some years ago and offered a full scholarship to study traditional Chinese medicine.
Although from mixed Chinese and Kenyan ancestry, Dr Sharifu now wants to return to Lamu and work with local communities.
The meeting between the Ambassador and the First Lady comes ahead the May 14-16 Belt and Roads Forum for International Cooperation Conference in Beijing to be attended by more than 28 heads of Government and States among them, President Uhuru Kenyatta.
During the conference, the the First Lady will visit various institutions including the Beijing Women and Childrens Hospital for shared insights that could be incorporated in the proposed referral Beyond Zero hospital in Kenya.
Margaret and the envoy also discussed the inspiring story of some Kenyan women who are expected to drive the new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) trains after completing their courses in China.
The women are part of a group of Kenyan students the China Road and Bridges Corporation, the SGR contractor, sponsored to undertake a railway course at China’s Baoji Railway Training College.
Others in the delegation included the envoy’s spouse Madam Li Ping, the Minister Counselor of the Chinese Embassy Li Xuhang and the Chief of the Political Section Niu Xiaoqiang and his Deputy Liu Ying.
The First Lady launched the ‘Beyond Zero Campaign’ to improve maternal and child health outcomes in the country.
The initiative also aims to accelerate the implementation of the national plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children.
So far, all the 47 counties have received mobile clinics courtesy of the initiative with the Nairobi being the last county to receive. While handing over the Nairobi clinic, the First Lady said it marks the end of Beyond Zero’s first phase, adding that the second phase will entail the construction of the proposed Sh2.2 billion referral hospital.
Geingos made the call last week when she spoke at Windhoek Central Hospital during the visit of former US president George W Bush and his wife Laura. The Bushes were in the country on a two-day visit which ended on Wednesday.
The purpose of the Bushes' visit was to celebrate progress made in the fight against HIV-AIDS under the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar), UNAIDS, Susan G Komen and the Pink Ribbon/Red Ribbon initiative of the Bush Institute, which was launched in 2011.
According to Geingos, a lot of assistance has been provided by international organisations such as UNAIDS, the Global Fund, Pepfar, and others, but there has not been much involvement from the local private sector.
“Private partnership is missing [...], there is no more space for silence. Domestically, all institutions here need to get along, they need to make a difference,” she said.
Head of oncology at the hospital, Anel Zietsman said at the same occasion that cancer cases amongst women were on the rise, and were predicted to increase by 70% over the next decade.
She said in Namibia, most women with cancer died of breast cancer, followed by cervical cancer, adding that deaths could be prevented if there were more treatment facilities in the country.
“There are only two cancer treatment facilities, a private one and a public one. We need more facilities for the entire country,” Zietsman said.
According to a fact sheet by the Pink Ribbon/Red Ribbon organisation which fights cancer, many HIV positive women are vulnerable to the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which leads to cancer.
However, chances of developing cancer, according to the Pink Ribbon/Red Ribbon body, could be reduced by up to 90% through vaccination against HPV.
Also speaking at the event, health minister Bernard Haufiku said concerning treatment, some of the obstacles faced, especially across rural Namibia, was that people were still bound by culture, poverty and dependency, and only ended up seeking treatment when their illness was already at an advanced stage.
Bush praised Namibia's efforts in fighting HIV-AIDS and cancer amongst women, and called on the new US administration to continue supporting Pepfar's activities.
Malawi’s First Lady Gertrude Mutharika has urged women in the country to go for cervical cancer screening.
Mutharika made the call during Women’s Cultural Day Luncheon at Kamuzu Palace in Malawi capital city, Lilongwe.
In her remarks, the first lady said women should not be afraid of going for cancer screening if they want to know their cervical cancer status.
She gave an example of “Zokonda Amayi” women who went for cervical cancer screening and all of them were tested negative.
“These women are very happy because they know that they have no cervical cancer. So you have to go for cancer screening so that they will test you unlike just be assuming that you have cervical cancer or not. So I am urging you that in your respective groups that you have to go for cervical cancer screening.
“We can arrange that all women from Malawi Defence Force (MDF) should go for the screening, then all women from Police, followed by all women from Prison and later all women from Immigration must go for cancer screening. We can arrange this and this is very possible,” she said.
The first lady further told the women that cancer is curable and they should not be afraid.
Madam Mutharika also expressed concern that women in the country delay to go for cancer screening in seeking treatment of cervical cancer.
“Most women in the country do go for screening too late and that time the disease tend to be at an advanced stage. This is bad. Please women lets go for cervical cancer screening and also at the same time we can go for HIV/AIDS testing to know our status,” Mutharika urged the women.
Speaking at the same function, President Peter Mutharika told the women to support his government as it is committed in promoting women.
Mutharika gave examples of notable women such as Solicitor General Janet Banda, DPP Secretary General Glezelder Jeffrey, Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) Vice Chancellor Address Malata as some of the women who have been appointed to top positions by his government
The luncheon was attended by women from Malawi Defence Force (MDF), Malawi Police Service (MPS), Immigration Department and Malawi Prison Services (MPS).