NAIROBI, 29th May 2022 (PSCU) – President Uhuru Kenyatta has rallied Kenyans to continue being cautious of Covid-19 saying, despite the relaxation of disease containment measures, the danger of infections spreading still lurks.
“We must, therefore, continue to be careful as we go about our daily callings; and more importantly, I urge all Kenyans to get vaccinated or receive your booster shots, so that we may put the pandemic behind us, once-and-for-all,” the President said.
The Head of State spoke on Sunday at State House, Nairobi when he presided over the 92nd inspection parade of the St John Ambulance Kenya where he announced a Shs 150 million annual Government sponsorship for the organization starting with Shs 100 million this financial year.
The President, who is the Chief Patron of the humanitarian institution, challenged it to include more young people in its activities by engaging learning institutions at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
“By placing a value on volunteerism, we shall be nurturing a higher calling and building a strong sense of civic responsibility amongst the leaders of today and tomorrow,” the President said.
In this regard, the Head of State directed the Ministry of Education to develop innovative initiatives that will foster and recognize student volunteers among them preferential consideration when seeking internship opportunities.
“Indeed, the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) framework provides a perfect opportunity for this endeavour. I further call upon our Government institutions to grant preference to interns and attachés who have certified volunteer experience from certified charitable organizations such as St. John,” he said.
The President commended St John Kenya for contributing to favourable health indicators under the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme, noting that the organization’s various pre-hospital care related training courses has ensured that the country has a growing population of first aiders.
“Since St John Ambulance was started in Kenya back in 1923, it has led the way in the provision of ambulance and paramedical services in Kenya. Following your lead, many more ambulance service in the public and private sphere have sprung up,” the President said.
He particularly commended St John Kenya for being at the forefront in tackling emergencies, citing the organization’s leading role in the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Looking back to those days of lockdowns and shut downs, we all recall how St John Ambulance was at the vanguard of our anti-Covid actions.
“St John tirelessly sensitized Kenyans about Covid-19, hosted handwashing campaigns and even helped the Ministry of Health in the administration of Covid-19 vaccines. As a thankful nation, this country appreciates you for your quality service,” the President said.
On prevention of road accident, President Kenyatta said the country must rethink its approach to the critical minutes after an accident occurs, by making road users part of the solution.
Consequently, the President directed the Ministry of Transport to develop an appropriate sectorial plan as part of its 2023 to 2027 medium plan to offer first aid training and basic post-accident evacuation protocols as a pre-requisite for all licensed drivers.
“I am also glad to note that the Ministry of Transport, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and St John Kenya, has put in place elaborate plans to implement road safety and first aid safety training for boda boda riders across the country.
“We already have launched an initial pilot scheme covering 200 boda boda riders; which, we believe, shall be a key resource at these rescue centres, offering first aid care as first responders,” he said.
Earlier, President Kenyatta, who chaired a St John Kenya board meeting at State House, Nairobi in his capacity as the Chief Patron of the organization, was knighted to the Order of the St John for his service to humanity.
The admission of President Kenyatta as Knight of the most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem was conducted by the Order’s Chancellor Dr Gillian Willmore at State House, Nairobi.
Appreciating the honour, President Kenyatta thanked Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for honouring him with the coveted award of a Knight under the Order of St John and committed to continue serving humanity with humility.
“…let me once again thank Her Majesty the Queen for the incredible honour; and promise, even as I retire, I commit myself to the service of humanity not just in Kenya but globally,” President Kenyatta said.
Health PS Susan Mochache also spoke at the annual parade that was attended by several senior Government officials led by Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua.