KAKAMEGA County government and UNICEF have signed a grant sh.1.35 billion Memorandum of understanding to improve infant and maternal livehood.
The County government of Kakamega will contribute Ksh. 450 Million part of the grant while UNICEF will give Ksh. 900 Million. Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of understanding on Thursday, Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya noted that low rate of skilled delivery, low rate of ante-natal care contraceptive prevalence were the major contributing factors to the high neo-natal and infant mortality in the County.
Oparanya said due to high poverty index in Kakamega County which stands at 56%, it contributes a high burden of child deprivation in the country and hence significantly contributing to national under five mortality rates.
He said an integrated digital programme will be launched and implemented to enable knowledge based health interventions to realize the designed results earlier October this year.
Witnessing the signing of the memorandum of understanding, UNICEF representative Bridget Job- Johnson said the organization supports community based mechanisms such as the community healthy strategy, mother to mother support group and peer support for HIV/AIDS positive mothers and will wish to extend the same to the County government of Kakamega by ensuring the best care for mothers and children.
Bridget reiterated that the UNICEF will ensure every child receives the best start in life by ensuring that a mother gets the best care and nutrition during pregnancy and exclusive breastfeeding of babies for the first six months of life to reduce child deaths of more than 11,000 per year.
"We welcome the opportunity to sign a memorandum of understanding with Kakamega County government to support it fulfill its commitment to mothers and young children in need," said Bridget.
Bridget urged all stakeholders, leaders both in public and private sectors to promote and protect breastfeeding as a vital component of child survival, growth and development.