Kenya: Indicators in northeast "unacceptable" - UNICEF head

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

NAIROBI, 28 July (IRIN) - The executive director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Anne Veneman, has called for more effort to improve health and education in Kenya's remote northeastern region, where four out of five girls are never enrolled in school.

Veneman, who visited the northeastern district of Wajir on Sunday, said indicators in the region were unacceptable, with poor access to health services contributing to low immunisation rates, high incidence of malaria and high maternal mortality.

"If we work together to ensure children are properly fed and cared for, protected by immunisation, have access to clean water and sanitation, sleep under treated bednets, know how to avoid HIV/AIDS and have access to decent health services, we will go a long way to achieving [the UN Millennium Development] goals," she said.

The UNICEF head delivered drugs and supplies worth some US $30,000 to Wajir district hospital for emergency obstetric care and nutrition.

On Monday, Veneman met Kenyan vice president, Moody Awori, to launch a campaign against malaria focused on North Eastern province, aiming to raise $450,000 locally by the end of the year.

"In taking on malaria you have chosen to fight a very important battle for Kenya's children," she said at the launch.


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