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Kenya launches nursing campaign to
help meet universal health coverage 

NAIROBI (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 percent.

“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.” Kariuki said.


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