Reuters: From Despair to Hope: Fulfilling a Promise to Mothers and Children in Mandera County
The First Lady of Kenya Ms Margaret Kenyatta accompanied by the Governor of Mandera County Mr Ali Roba & UNFPA's Executive Director Dr Babatunde Osotimehin at the Beyond Zero event in Mandera. 06 Nov 2015. Mandera/PC: @undpkenya
Mandera in north-eastern Kenya, has often been described as ‘the worst place on earth to give birth’. Mandera’s maternal mortality ratio stands at 3,795 deaths per 100,000 live births, almost double that of wartime Sierra Leone at 2,000 deaths per 100,000 live births.
But Mandera also demonstrates what can be achieved with strong political leadership and strategic partnerships. Just under a year ago, on Dec. 2 2014, we were part of a team from the United Nations, World Bank, charities and the Office of the President of Kenya that undertook the two-hour flight to Mandera, to determine what could be done to address this critical development bottleneck.
Minutes before take-off, news came through that 36 Kenyans had been brutally murdered in Mandera by the Somali militant group al Shabaab.
No official briefing could have better highlighted the challenges of the task ahead. Rather than acting as a deterrent, it strengthened our resolve and we continued with our journey.