Amref Health Africa in Kenya on November 4, 2016 launched a four year project (2016-2020) aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of mothers and children in four sub-counties of Siaya County namely Alego-Usonga, Ugunja, Ugenya and Bondo. 

Dubbed the Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, New born and Child Mortality (CAIA-MNCM), this project   is financed by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada at US$ 4 Million. The project is expected to reach a total of   847,241 beneficiaries in the county, both directly and indirectly out of which 277,999 and 181,087 will be women and children under five respectively.
Siaya County is among the top ten counties with low Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (RMNCH) indicators in Kenya.CAIA-MNCM project will address these challenges by improving the delivery and utilisation of quality reproductive, maternal, newborn health and nutrition services. The poor maternal health indicators in the county are compounded by a soaring rate of HIV prevalence which stands at 17.8% compared to 5.6% in the rest of Kenya.

Speaking during the event Amref Health Africa in Kenya Country Director Dr Meshack Ndirangu, asserted, “By training health workers to provide quality reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services, this project will save lives and improve the health of mothers, pregnant women and children in Siaya County. It is our belief that through a strengthened health system, and partnerships that empower women, our efforts will make a lasting and meaningful difference in communities.”
Dr Ndirangu also hailed the efforts of Amref Health Africa in Kenya and partners in contributing to reducing maternal and neonatal deaths in Kenya. He reinforced the organisation’s commitment to improving the lives of communities by implementing such projects aimed at improving the health of women and children in the community, and ultimately contributing to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5, and Kenya’s vision 2030. 
The project will be carried out as part of a consortium of four Canadian organisations namely: Amref Health Africa in Canada, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCEC), Centre for Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children and WaterAid Canada.
Also addressing the gathering His Excellency Deputy Governor, County Government of Siaya Mr Wilson Onyango said, “ This project launched today signifies a great collaboration between the County Government of Siaya, the Governmnet of Canada and Amref Health Africa in Kenya.On behalf of the County Government of Siaya, I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to Amref Health Africa and the Government of Canada for choosing to implement this project in Siaya County, it will indeed improve maternal and child health.”
The CAIA-MNCM project will also focus on gender inequality in the county as this too affects Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) outcomes. A gender assessment revealed that gender inequality is very prominent among communities in Siaya County and indeed gender is a significant factor influencing uptake of health services, including RMNCH services.
Also in attendance were programme Manager of Reproductive, Maternal, Child and Adolescent  Health and Nutrition (RMCAH&N) at Amref Health Africa in Kenya Peter Ofware, the First Lady, County Government of Siaya Rosella Rasanga and Siaya County Health officials.
By Maureen Cherongis

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