Nursing and midwifery leaders including AKU-SONAM EA Dean (seated second left) and Kenya's Health Cabinet Secretary (centre in white) grace the launch
Nurses and midwives across the country are set to benefit from months of collective effort amongst stakeholders in the profession, after the launch of the inaugural National Nursing and Midwifery Policy and other regulatory tools. This comes at a time when the profession is facing numerous challenges such as downing of tools and 'brain drain' with professional nurses and midwives opting to relocate and work abroad.
The documents launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Hon Mutahi Kagwe were drafted to provide avenues for career growth among professional nurses and midwives.
“We are here to ensure that we present the best case for the cadre. By streamlining and strengthening the work of nurses and midwives in the country, we stand to benefit from a globally competitive system that will accord each Kenyan quality healthcare on our facilities. In the same breadth, it is our intention to ensure that the professionals grow and secure opportunities that benefit their career growth," Hon Kagwe said.
The policy and other regulatory tools are also expected to contribute to the attainment of Universal Healthcare through primary healthcare delivery across Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa.
“There is no better way to celebrate the international week of nurses and midwives than by confirming that after several meetings, extensive deliberation, and fruitful consultations, we finally have a tangible representation of our efforts. As we launch these documents, we are in a great position to clarify the critical roles. and responsibilities of nurses and midwives in Kenya, integrate everyone within the nursing and midwifery profession, improve intersectoral collaboration as well as enhance the image and professional standing of nursing and midwifery practice in the country," said Dr Eunice Ndirangu-Mugo, Dean, School of Nursing and Midwifery at Aga Khan University and Chair, Nursing Council of Kenya.
Representatives from the Johnson & Johnson Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund that financed the process emphasised their utmost appreciation of the collective effort shown by stakeholders to bring the documents to life. They also committed to continued support for nurses and midwives in Kenya.
According to the recently released 2022 Economic Survey, there is a notable increase in healthcare professionals. Nurses and midwives constitute close to 80% of the health workforce, but they face numerous challenges such as low absorption of graduates and advancing professionals. Additionally, in a recent study by the Aga Khan University that explored views regarding the image of nursing and midwifery among nurses and midwives in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, there is a negative image of nursing and midwifery that does not promote these professions as attractive career options.
The launch happened under the wider umbrella of the Nurses and Midwives Alliance which is a platform that convenes all nurses and midwives in Kenya to facilitate the professional growth of the healthcare practice. It intends to achieve this goal by developing a National Nursing and Midwifery Policy as well as a Scheme of Service to profile, specify duties, and grade all levels of the Nursing and Midwifery functions. Additionally, the Alliance will feature a Scope of Practice to guide all health professionals on the roles and responsibilities of Nurses and Midwives in Kenya.