NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The international community should forge a united
front to secure a brighter, and healthier future for all
children, said Ma Yili, a well-known Chinese actress and UNICEF
(UN Children’s Fund) ambassador during her recent trip in Kenya.
of this visit is mainly to learn from and exchange with
health workers in Kenya, and to share my experience there
with people back home,” said Ma.
“It has been a
great honor for me to serve as a UNICEF ambassador, and to
work with them to promote early childhood development,”
Ma’s visit to
Kenya coincided with her inaugural overseas mission as a
At the Pumwani
Maternity Hospital, which happens to be one of the largest
state-funded maternity facilities in Kenya, Ma was
impressed by the warm reception she received from the
mother of a 2-month-old baby whom she administered an oral
“I did not
expect the mother of the child to trust me this much—this
has been inspiring,” she remarked with excitement.
Mutinda, the president of the hospital, hailed Ma’s visit
and the positive impact it created in the lives of young
“She is very
friendly and down to earth,” said Mutinda.
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Ma Yili, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
ambassador, speaks during an interview at the United
Nations Office at Nairobi, Kenya, on Aug. 17, 2018. The
international community should forge a united front to
secure a brighter and healthier future for all children,
said Ma Yili during her recent trip in Kenya.
XINHUA PHOTO: WANG TENG
As a mother of two
girls, Ma had an easy time connecting with children at the
Chinese actress was in 2013 appointed the UNICEF Special
Advocate for Breastfeeding and Early Childhood Development.
She has in the last
couple of years engaged in robust advocacy for breastfeeding as
a means to promote children’s health.
“I feel that the
social responsibilities on my shoulder are even heavier since I
have become a mother,” Ma told Xinhua, adding that she intends
to use her influence as a performing artist to raise public
awareness on children’s health.
She has been
visiting projects supported by UNICEF and its partners in
various parts of Kenya that are geared toward promoting maternal
and children’s health.
Some of the
UNICEF-funded projects in Kenya have achieved remarkable results
in increasing breastfeeding rates and reducing neonatal
“What is even more
encouraging is that with the advocacy effort of UNICEF, Kangaroo
Mother Care has been popularized in majority of maternity
hospitals in Nairobi,” said Ma.
“I have seen that
many premature babies lie on the mother’s chest every day to
have intimate contact with them,” she added. Evidence has shown
that a close contact between mothers and their babies can help
stabilize a toddler’s temperature and stimulate its respiratory
Ma also underscored
the critical role of community health volunteers to ensure the
success of child-centered health programs. “There are many male
volunteers, which is laudable,” she said.
“I think men should
play their part in nurturing the children, share their duties
with young mothers and contribute to improvement of maternal and
child health,” said Ma.
Kenya and other
sub-Saharan African countries are the epicenter of childhood
illnesses and deaths because of inadequate and ill-equipped
health facilities, poverty and cultural beliefs.
UNICEF indicate that sub-Saharan Africa region accounts for 38
percent of the 7,000 newborns who die every day across the
“It is especially
saddening because the vast majority of these deaths are
preventable,” Ma remarked.
“I hope every child,
every woman and every parent have access to quality health care
services in Africa, in China and around the word. Let’s unite
together for a brighter future where all children enjoy better
health,” added Ma.