The Chief Administration Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of Health Dr. Mercy Mwangangi has stressed the need for increased collaboration in the health sector to address challenges being faced by nurses and midwives in the country.
Dr. Mwangangi said the collaboration will help solve the challenges and also help advance the practise to greater heights.
Nurses and midwives, she added, account for over 50% of the healthcare workforce and have a great opportunity to have their grievances addressed easily when they speak with one voice.
While speaking during a Webinar hosted by the National Nurses Association of Kenya to commemorate the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, the CAS acknowledged the vital role of the health professionals in the healthcare system.
She further said that in order for the country to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), nurses and midwives will be required to be at the core of the vision.
Dr. Mwangangi added that during this pandemic, health professionals have been at the forefront, reinforcing the need to strengthen their capacities as they continue providing healthcare services for all.
“The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has also brought to the fore the critical role played by our medics in as far as nursing the world to health is concerned. We need to come together as stakeholders towards the realization of a vibrant nursing profession,” said the CAS.
“Solving nursing challenges goes beyond making noise. It is important to outline the critical services that nurses and midwives offer and what the gaps are. This is something that the government will well receive and execute accordingly,” she added.
The CAS also noted that the ongoing home-base care program was a brainchild of a Kenyan nurse. She also noted that through collaboration with NNAK and other healthcare professionals, the Ministry is currently working with other partners to offer psychosocial support to all healthcare workers through the COVID-19 Contact Centre.
Echoing the messages of collaboration and partnerships in solving nursing challenges, the National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) President Alfred Obengo urged nurses and midwives to join hands and use this pandemic period to tackle matters that are important for the profession, further indicating that as an association, they are working together with other stakeholders to improve the nursing policy.
Mr. Obengo revealed that they are working towards reviewing the scope of nursing practice in Kenya as envisaged by the stakeholders.
“We are in the process of reviewing our current scope of practice so that we have a paradigm shift from the traditional nurse to a modern nurse who can make decisions on his/her speciality in the profession,” said Mr. Obengo.
He also added that improving the current scheme of work will give nurses and midwives an opportunity to advance their career.
In addressing the issue of nursing education in the country, the Director of Nursing Services, Dr. Mary Nandili noted that they have resolved the issue of nursing students who will be posted for their internships in two weeks across the country, indicating that it is important to keep the cycle the profession ongoing.
“As a progressive profession, we understand that we must keep our workforce cycle ongoing. To this end, we are have over 500 slots which we shall be posting to different healthcare facilities in the coming weeks,” said Dr. Nandili.
She applauded NNAK, International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for spearheading the campaign to commemorate 2020 as the year of the nurse and the midwife.
The webinar, which was moderated by the Faith Muigai, a member of the Nurse and the Midwife Committee attracted the high profile panellists including Ms. Thembeka Gwagwa – 2nd Vice President, International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Deputy Director of Nursing Services, Mr. Francis Ogola.
Gwanga observed that the role played by nurses and midwives is critical to the well-being of the Africa continent.