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Kenyan authorities to step up fight against drug menace

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A five-day international conference on drug demand and reduction kicked off in Nairobi on Monday with Kenya committing to step up fight against drug menace and substance abuse in the country.

The conference, organized by Kenya’s National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) in collaboration with the African Union (AU), brought together more than 1,000 delegates from across the globe.

In his opening remarks, Fred Matiang’i, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, called on the international community to join efforts to tackle the drug menace which he said was a global problem.

“Kenya is committed to collaborate with the international agencies to ensure that criminals dealing in drugs are arrested and arraigned in court,” said Matiang’i.

He said the east African nation is already cooperating with the international community by deporting those engaged in the international illegal trade in drugs.

He said that drug sale and abuse is a global problem that Kenya being one of the sufferers will participate in its reduction fully.

“Besides regional efforts, we have also put in place a multi-sectoral team that includes faith based institutions to help reduce drug abuse in the country,” said Matiang’i.

Matiang’i noted that a drug abuse is a major problem in Kenya, especially with the young people in primary and secondary school.

A survey recently conducted by NACADA in Kenya shows that alcohol and drug abuse is slowly being dropped by people.

It, however, shows alcohol use has been associated with the highest burden of substance use disorders in the country.

The survey was the third follow-up of the 2012 and 2007 surveys that have been conducted to find out the trend of alcohol and drug use in the country to guide policy and programs.



United Nations back ambitious Kenya universal health plan

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday endorsed Kenya’s ambitious Universal Health Coverage (UHC) program which seeks to ensure that all Kenyans access quality healthcare.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesos, WHO director-general, said he will mobilize the top leadership of the global health body to attend the launch event on Thursday, which will kick start the pilot phase of the UHC program in four counties, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s office said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

“Kenya is starting its UHC journey. Your country is trailblazing a new trend in Health in Africa,” Ghebreyesos said when he hosted the president at the start of the first management meeting of the organization outside its headquarters in Geneva.

He assured President Kenyatta that WHO is committed to support the country’s UHC, describing Kenya as a trailblazer in Africa.

The Nairobi meeting brings together the global leadership of WHO as they commence the implementation of the 13th General Programme of work, 2019-2023.

Kenya plans to rollout its UHC program on a pilot basis in four out of the 47 counties.

The ministry of health says use of Kisumu, Isiolo, Nyeri and Machakos as samples would generate the required feedback to guide the countrywide rollout afterwards.

UHC is part of President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda, comprising of food security, manufacturing, affordable housing and universal healthcare and is meant to ensure all Kenyans have access to quality healthcare.

Kenyatta, who opened the three-day WHO meeting in Nairobi, said the attainment of UHC in Kenya is not a destination but a continuous process which will involve constant widening of the social safety nets to ensure that no one is left behind as the country strives to achieve its national health aspirations.

He said Kenya has made good progress in uplifting the health of her people, gaps still exist in terms of service coverage, quality and human resource distribution across the country.

According to Kenyatta, UHC is aimed at addressing the financial burden that perennially drives some Kenyans to poverty and subsequently slowing down the economy.



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