(Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Thursday
launched a nursing campaign to accelerate achievement of universal
health coverage (UHC).
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta who
launched the campaign in Nairobi said the Nursing Now Campaign is an
important initiative that recognizes the crucial role of nurses as a
backbone of health promotion, disease prevention and treatment.
“The campaign will empower nurses and
therefore help Kenya reach its objective of achieving universal
health coverage by 2022,” Kenyatta said in Nairobi.
Nursing Now is an initiative launched
in February and is backed by the World Health Organization to raise
the status and profile of the nursing profession.
Ademola Olajide, the United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA) Kenya representative, said Kenya has made
the right move by launching the global campaign as part of the
initiatives towards attainment of UHC.
Olajide said human resource for health
and more particularly the nurses and midwives, who comprise over 50
percent of the health workforce, are the backbone of the health
system that would make quality health care a reality.
He said Kenya, having entered the
league of low middle income countries, must now heavily invest in
its human capital and optimize on their potential.
“We must train, employ, appropriately
deploy and retain our nurses and midwives for improved quality of
health care and better outcomes,” he added.
Sicily Kariuki, cabinet secretary in
the Ministry of Health, said nurses and midwives comprise the
largest segment of the health workforce worldwide.
“In Kenya, we have a total of 60,579
registered nurses and midwives. The public sector accounts for
38,000 with 2,000 serving in the national government while 36,000
are deployed in the counties,” Kariuki said.
The cabinet secretary said the country
has 17 universities and 68 medical training colleges countrywide
that graduate over 11,000 nurses and midwives annually.
She said that despite these
statistics, nursing care in Kenya is understaffed by about 50
“More often than not, nurses working
in hard to reach areas manage health centers single handedly;
carrying out all functions in the absence of other health cadres.”