Hundreds of people took part in the Save a Mum 2014 Chase Group Foundation Walk last Saturday in support of Amref Health Africa's Stand Up for African Mothers Campaign. The walk was flagged off by Dr Susan Mboya-Kidero, wife of Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero and President of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, together with Chase Foundation CEO Mr Parmain ole Narikae and Amref Health Africa Director General Dr Teguest Guerma.
Dr Mboya-Kidero, who was the guest of honour at the event, praised Amref Health Africa for taking up the cause of maternal health, and in particular training of midwives, because while women were the backbone of families and society, they were at great social disadvantage. Women, she noted, provide 66 per cent of the world’s labour, produce 50 per cent of the world’s food, yet they earn only ten per cent of the world’s income and own one per cent of the world’s property. Eighty per cent of the little income that women received went directly to benefiting their families and communities, she added, underlining the importance of women’s health and survival.
“One midwife can make a big difference, because she can look after 500 women in a year and safely deliver 100 babies. Issues that touch women are important to me, which is why I am keen to support this cause.”
Mr ole Narikae said that the Chase Group was deeply concerned that 162,000 mothers were dying every year in Africa, yet this did not need to be the case if there were trained midwives to look after mothers. This was why the Group had decided to support Amref Health Africa's work.
Dr Guerma thanked the Chase Group for its generous support for the Stand Up for African Mothers campaign, through which Amref Health Africa aims to train 15,000 midwives across Africa. Already, she noted, a third of this target had been reached, including over 600 midwives trained in Kenya. This was a good example of a successful public private partnership, she said, and urged other corporates to work with credible organisations like Amref Health Africa in order to benefit African communities.
“This campaign also aims to encourage all Africans to contribute towards our own health development. Everyone taking part in this walk or providing sponsorship has made an important contribution to the fight against maternal mortality because today we are targeting to raise 30 million shillings for the training of midwives,” said Dr Guerma, amid cheers from the crowd. She thanked the media for playing an important role by highlighting the plight of African mothers and the work that Amref Health Africa is doing.
The master of ceremonies, popular Kenyan comedian and broadcaster Dan Ndambuki aka 'Churchill', introduced two renowned athletes who were taking part in the walk – five-time World Cross-country Champion and Olympic Gold medallist John Ngugi, and double World Championship winner and Olympic Gold medallist Billy Konchellah. Walkers were taken through an energetic warm-up session by Zumba trainer Magic Mike before setting off on the 10km walk through the scenic Ngong Forest Sanctuary and a shorter 5km route for children.