NAIROBI, 24th July 2020 – American philanthropist Melinda Gates has praised Kenya’s Covid-19 response measures saying the interventions are sensitive to the plight of vulnerable women and girls.
Mrs Gates, who is the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said Kenya’s Covid-19 response strategy is helping women and girls cope with the social and economic challenges posed by the pandemic.
She said her foundation supports measures being taken by Kenya to tame the rising cases of violence against women and teenage pregnancies during the current health crisis.
Mrs Gates spoke Thursday evening during a virtual meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta during which the philanthropist briefed the Head of State on a white paper she published recently.
The paper dubbed, ‘The Pandemic’s Toll on Women. COVID-19 is Gender-Blind, but not Gender-Neutral”, highlights ways in which women are being left behind by the world’s response to Coronavirus.
Mrs Gates assured the President that her organisation will ensure that frontline health workers are among the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
On his part, the President told Mrs Gates that Kenya recognises the vulnerability of women and girls to the negative impacts of the pandemic and assured her that the country will continue scaling up measures to cushion them.
“The people who are bound to suffer the most are actually going to be women. As part of our response to Covid-19 response, we have a gender component build into it,” the President said.
He said Kenya’s Coronavirus interventions including the “Kazi Mtaani” youth employment program are geared towards the socioeconomic wellbeing of vulnerable populations including women and children.
“Even when we are looking at our stimulus program, we are insisting that they follow the same basis as our social packages…we have to specifically deal with women,” President Kenyatta said.
On the rising cases of teenage pregnancies in the country, the President said Kenya is working on ensuring the safety of its children by keeping schools closed and at the same time ensuring that lives of the nation’s young girls are not disrupted by early pregnancies.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of Kenya’s largest development partners in the health sector. The foundation injects over US Dollars 90 million annually into the country’s primary healthcare covering sectors such as family planning, HIV/AIDS research, maternal and child health, and nutrition.