By Samwel Doe Ouma @samweldoe
The Ministry of Health has stressed the need for increased collaboration in the health sector to address challenges faced by nurses and midwives in the country.
A c c o rd i n g t o t h e C h i e f Administration Secretary (CAS) Dr Mercy Mwangangi, the collaboration will help solve the challenges and help advance the practice to greater heights.
“Nurses and midwives, account for over 50 per cent of the healthcare workforce and have a great opportunity to have their grievances addressed easily when they speak with one voice,” she said.
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 for the country to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), nurses and midwives would 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 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.
Dr Mwangangi noted that involving 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-based care program was a brainchild of a Kenyan nurse. 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.
Mr Obengo revealed that they are working towards reviewing the scope of nursing practice in the country as envisaged by 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 allow nurses and midwives to advance their career.
In addressing the issue of nursing education in the country, the Director of Nursing Services, Dr Mary Nandili noted that nursing students will be posted for internships in two weeks.
“As a progressive profession, we understand that we must keep our workforce cycle ongoing. To this end, we 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.