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UNICEF recognizes China's contribution to health of Kenya, Sudan

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-07-04 19:51

The assistance given by China to Kenya and Sudan through "China-Africa Cooperation in Maternal and Newborn Health" program is completed and has been successful. UNICEF has said the program has aided the rollout of some of the most high-impact health initiatives in places deemed to be in urgent need of health services.

In two separate events last week, UNICEF representatives to Kenya and Sudan joined their respective Chinese embassies to express their appreciation. UNICEF added the successful completion of the projects with desired results reflects sound cooperation between China and UNICEF under the framework of South-South cooperation.

Speaking in Nairobi on Friday during the signing of the Certificate of Completion at the United Nation's offices in Nairobi, Maniza Zaman, UNICEF representative to Kenya, confirmed the funds from Beijing were used to implement numerous projects in eight counties across the country.

"This contribution has ensured women, children and newborns living in disadvantaged areas of Kenya have improved access to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services," Zaman said. "With the support of this generous grant, we have been able to expand and strengthen primary healthcare networks in Samburu, Marsabit, West Pokot and Kakamega, four counties which now have stronger community health services. This is the 'first level' of primary healthcare outlined in the Government of Kenya's strategic framework."

Apart from the provision of maternal, newborn and child health services, the funds aided in the acquisition of medical equipment and services for 159 health facilities, benefiting over 3,045,000 Kenyan citizens.

Chinese ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian expressed satisfaction China's support had greatly impacted the lives of Kenyans, especially in remote parts of the country.

"We are pleased to jointly confirm the project has been successfully completed and achieved the desired results. We hope we will have more cooperation in the future, so as to make greater contribution to Kenya's social and economic development," Zhou said.

The Chinese ambassador noted medical and health promotion remains one of the foremost priorities of China in Africa under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Zhou disclosed major health programs will be rolled out in the continent to strengthen China-Africa cooperation.

In Sudan, Chinese ambassador Ma Xinmin joined Mandeep O'Brien, UNICEF Sudan representative, on Thursday to announce the completion of the maternal, newborn and child health project.

According to O'Brien, UNICEF Sudan, with support from China, has worked to improve access to quality prenatal and neonatal healthcare services for women and children in Sudan.

"The generous support of the government and people of China has allowed us an opportunity to prevent newborn deaths and will have a lasting impact," O'Brien said.

She added UNICEF Sudan in partnership with Sudan's Ministry of Health has been able to train over 100 community midwives who now support their communities and improve access to early essential and emergency newborn care services for 59,400 mothers and their children.

In his remarks, Ma said improving maternal and child health is high on the agenda of the government of China. He noted this project not only benefited from financial support but also technical support through knowledge exchange with health workers on reducing maternal and neonatal mortality.

In August 2018, delegates from African countries, the African Union and China joined in a collective call in Beijing to make ending preventable newborn deaths a reality through strengthened South-South cooperation that would increase investment and place a priority on saving the lives of children and their mothers.

As a result, the China-Africa Cooperation in Maternal and Newborn Health project was launched in seven African countries to improve maternal and newborn health in Africa by drawing on successful examples from China's experience.

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