First convocation ceremony in Mombasa
News 2013

Coach, Motivate and Collaborate to Empower People: Professor Were​

February 16, 2013

​In the first convocation ceremony of the university in Mombasa, Kenya, 30 nurses enrolled in Aga Khan University's Advanced Nursing Studies (AKU-ANS) Programme were conferred with the Kenya Registered Community Health Nursing Diploma.
Professor Miriam K. Were, Chair of the National AIDS Control Council and the African Medical & Research Foundation, was the chief guest at the occasion.

Congratulating the graduands, Prof. Yasmin Amarsi, Dean, AKU-ANS Programme, said, “It is very encouraging that AKU was able to provide an opportunity to rural nurses that they may not have had otherwise."

Professor Were also commended the graduands and urged them to have a caring and compassionate spirit to improve health care in the region.

"We must lift the health status of our rural communities where the majority of the people live and in urban slums where most of the urban populations live," she said, "it is your responsibility to maximise this opportunity, to coach, motivate and collaborate with those around you so that we can build a better country and a better East African Community together, to break the social inheritance of disempowerment."

She also highlighted Kenya’s dismal mother and child mortality indicators, "Current data indicates that there are 85 children less than one year of age dying per 1,000 live births while the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target is 33. Similarly, the maternal mortality ratio is 360 per 100,000 live births while the MDG target is 99."

"These figures show that Kenya is still far off from the 2015 MDG targets, mainly because health care has yet to reach the country’s rural communities and urban slums," she explained.

Mr Firoz Rasul, AKU President, congratulated the graduands and reminded them of their role as ambassadors of the institution: “You are examples of what the University stands for – professional competence with a capacity to solve problems, through critical thinking and compassion, and all this with high ethical standards.”

The AKU-ANS Programme uses an innovative approach that allows practicing nurses to study while working full time. By nurturing a cadre of highly-skilled health professionals and developing effective nursing leadership, the programme aims to improve the health of communities in East Africa. Since the AKU-ANS programme was introduced in the region, a total of 68 nurses have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake the two-year programme, thereby upgrading their qualifications from Enrolled Nurse to Registered Nurse.