23 August 2018

Nursing Now Kenya was officially launched by Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta in Nairobi this Thursday.

There were events held across the day, including a procession through the streets of Nairobi, an official ceremony held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) and an exhibition showcasing the work of nurses and trainee nurses from hospitals and universities around the country.

Speaking during the launch, the First Lady said that she will focus on this nursing campaign to encourage local action to support health workers at community level.

“I have seen the hard work of nurses during my visits to health centres and seen midwives work under difficult conditions providing ante natal clinics by ensuring safe delivery and help mothers get the necessary medical resources”, she said. “The Campaign is timely as we seek to improve quality of care and access to health through our commitment to Universal Health Coverage.”

Kenya has over 60,000 nurses and midwives, but many counties are faced with shortages, especially in more rural areas. According to data from the World Bank, nearly three quarters of people in Kenya still live in a rural setting.

While infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and still a serious threat in Kenya, noncommunicable diseases including cancer, diabetes and heart disease are becoming rapidly more threatening. These changing health needs require new approaches to treatment and prevention, and nurses and midwives will need to play a key part of that.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki also attended the launch, which was hosted in coordination with the Ministry of Health, the Nursing Council of Kenya, the United Nations Populations Fund and the World Health Organisation. She said the government will support the implementation of the Nursing Now Campaign in Kenya, and told the attendees, “I hope that you will continue to grow professionally and will find satisfaction in touching  and healing the lives of the patients.”

The Ministry of Health also announced on Twitter that they are finalising a new nursing policy to “improve the contribution of the nursing and midwifery workforce”. The Ministry explained that part of this will require all health professionals to undergo customer training to improve the quality of care.

Alfred Obengo, who is organising Nursing Now Kenya, urged the Ministry of Health to address issues including shortages of nurses and midwives in all 47 counties in Kenya, and the need support nurses in leadership roles by providing them more opportunities to expand their practice.

“To empower nurses and midwives we need timely promotions and the allocation of more resources for capacity building and training”, Obengo said. He stressed that the launch confirms the government’s aim of achieving the Universal Health Coverage in Kenya.

For more information on Nursing Now Kenya, please contact Dr. Mary Ishepe Nandili, Director of Nursing Services at the Ministry of Health: mnandili@yahoo.co.uk.