By Magdalene Mukami
More than 40,000 runners on Sunday joined Kenyan First lady Margaret Kenyatta for a half-marathon aimed at raising funds to reduce maternal, child and new born deaths in the East African country.
Money raised from the 21-kilometer race will see the delivery of mobile clinics to Kenya’s 47 counties - clinics that will offer free health care to all Kenyans irrespective of their social status.
Major roads in the Kenyan capital Nairobi were closed to allow room for the runners to participate in the race.
Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and her Rwandan counterpart Jeannette Kagame were among the runners.
“To all the runners whether you did two kilometers, five kilometers or 10 or 21, whether you took 30 minutes or three hours, you have done a good job. Because of you, Kenya is that much more closer to finishing the race to zero preventable child deaths and zero maternal deaths and zero new HIV cases ,” Kenyatta said.
“Today, we have proved once again that we have what it takes to win that race and we will win it together,” she added.
Patience Githaiga, mother to a daughter Mary who died during childbirth; said that she came all the way from Muranga county -74 kilometers- to run in the race.
“I am here for my daughter who died during childbirth. I am here because I know the pain of losing a family member or a child in a situation which can be prevented. Thumbs up for our F irst lady and her efforts,” Patience Githaiga told Anadolu Agency.
Over 70,000 people turned up to view the race. As of Friday, donations stood at $1.9 million.
Statistics from the office of the First lady show that more than 72,000 infants in Kenya die annually during childbirth.