Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta this afternoon landed in the port City of Cape Town where she is scheduled to receive an Honorary Fellowship Award in recognition of her unflinching commitment towards maternal and Children’s Health in Kenya.
She will receive the prestigious Fellow of Honoris Causa Award from the globally respected Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) to also appreciate her tireless efforts towards the reduction of mother-to-child HIV transmission under her innovative Beyond Zero initiative.
After receiving the Award, the First Lady will be accorded further honors when she delivers a keynote address to thousands of internationally recognized medical professionals from 77 countries, 26 of them from Africa.
The 2017 edition of the RCOG Congress in Cape Town marks the first time the conference is taking place in Africa.
The conference opened at the Cape Town International Convention Centre this afternoon and ends on Wednesday when the First Lady delivers her keynote address on the theme of Women and Girls’ health in Africa–shifting the paradigm.
RCOG awards the Fellowships of Honoris Causa in recognition of the work of individuals who are not members of the global association but who have contributed to the advancement of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Women’s Health Services or work of the RCOG.
The Honorary Fellowships are the highest Awards by the RCOG and are given following a rigorous exercise of screening and vetting by the Council.
Although most of the Honorary Fellowship awardees are clinicians who have demonstrated great commitment to the Gynaecology and Obstetrician specialty, the RCOG also awards this honour to other individuals who are not clinicians but have distinguished themselves by their unflinching commitment to Women’s Health either Nationally or internationally.
The First Lady falls in the latter category and her nomination was proposed by the African Representative on the RCOG Council Prof. Justin C. Konje.
“There are no expectations with this award other than you continue championing the cause of women in Kenya and indeed anywhere the opportunity arises”, says Prof. Konje in a letter to the First Lady from the University of Leincester’s School of Medicine seeking permission to present her nomination.
Most of the work and efforts of the First Lady towards the improvement of Maternal and Children health have been implemented through the Beyond Zero initiative where, over the last four years, she has participated in grueling marathons locally and abroad aimed at mobilizing resources for the noble cause for women .
Beyond Zero is part of initiatives outlined in the First Lady’s strategic framework towards HIV control, promotion of maternal, new born and child health in Kenya.
Under the office of the First Lady, the Beyond Zero initiative also plans to construct a multi-phased , Sh 2.2 billion National Referral Hospital for women and children.
The proposed State-of-the-art 150-bed Beyond Zero Hospital is designed to house special departments including a wellness, training and research centres.
The hospital is also planned to house special departments for critical care of neonates , High-Tech Laboratories , theatres, wards, human-milk banks and outpatient facilities.
The RCOG is a professional Association based in the United Kingdom but its members work in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology across all the continents.
The RCOG is the standard bearer of Women’s Health across the world and its main functions include education, training, research, advocacy and charity activities-most of which are related to Women’s Health.
The College has over 12,000 members in over 100 countries, half of them outside UK. Kenyan Doctors are affiliated to the Global body through the Kenya Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society. Kenya is represented at the Cape Town Congress by over 10 delegates.
Besides the First Lady, other key speakers at the conference include RCOG President Professor Lesley Regan, RCOG Senior Vice President prof. Mary Ann Lumsden and RCOG Vice President for Global Affairs Mr. Hani Fawzi, among other top health professionals from the world.