Safe Access to Abortion Crucial to Reducing Maternal Mortality in Kenya
First Lady Kenyatta’s “Beyond Zero” Campaign Ignores Key Issue
March 14, 2019
Agnes Odhiambo, Senior Researcher, Women's Rights Division
Five years ago, Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, launched the “Beyond Zero” campaign to eradicate preventable maternal and child mortality in Kenya. The initiative has drawn support and criticism in equal measure from Kenyans, and it has earned this criticism by ignoring a crucial aspect of women’s health – access to safe abortion.
A charity half marathon last weekend to mobilize resources for the campaign was met with wide-ranging criticism from Kenyans. Activists infiltrated part of the run to stage an anti-corruption protest, arguing that corruption and government failure to prosecute officials implicated in these crimes are the main factors behind Kenya’s failing health sector. Other critics say that the first lady’s campaign is diverting much-needed resources from the public health system.