​​Alumni Kenya  brief profiles


GEORGE NYADIMO, ‘10, Head of Nursing Services, Pumwani Maternity Hospital, Kenya

George was appointed to his current position as part of a turnaround effort at the 265-bed, 150-cot Pumwani Maternity Hospital, where major internal challenges resulted in the loss of 60 nurses and significant media attention. Since then he has reformed the labour ward, doubling monthly deliveries, cutting newborn extended stays by more than half and reducing maternal deaths from two per month to two in seven months. George has done his share of studying since graduating from AKU, earning an advanced diploma in public health and a master’s in health economics and policy. And he is working on a doctoral thesis focused on the economic evaluation of regional health care programmes. But his experience at AKU remains a key influence. “I constantly reflect back to my education at AKU to guide the decisions that I make as both a leader and educator,” he says​​


HANNAH KIRUNGU, ‘15, Nursing Officer, Kenya

Hannah is one of 69 rural nurses from rural counties who earned a Registered Community Health Nursing Diploma from AKU. For four years, she served a community of approximately 1,200 from a dispensary on Wasini Island that previously was staffed only by a community health worker, traveling by boat to the island every day from Shimoni. Drawing on skills and attitudes she learned at AKU, she increased the number of women delivering at the dispensary from zero to two or three per month, worked to prevent maternal-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and followed up with patients at home when necessary. “There is nothing as good as an empowered nurse, as one is confident and assertive and can even challenge one’s seniors.” Her classmates, she says, “are a testimony of what the programme does. Each of us is making a difference.”

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Mary Wambui Mwaniki, '15, Public Health Nurse In-charge, Sub-county, Kenya

Mary was a Public Health Nurse in Kangema Sub-county, having a Diploma in Nursing. She started her BScN in 2012. While she was at AKU, she was clinical nurse in charge of immunization programmes.

A major achievement was addressing the immunization crisis in her sub-county where immunization was rejected by a religious sect and boiled to a national issue. She achieved the highest immunization rates in Kenya through consultation with community and sect members, using this crisis as an elective project in her degree.  

“AKU gave me the confidence and competency to undertake the difficult position in a time of devolution challenges. And when cultural and religious challenges came my way, the critical thinking skills and the culture and health class was what I needed to take charge of this moment”

After graduation Mary was appointed as Public Health Nurse In-charge of the Sub-county. She is supervising health promotion activities in the dispensaries and health centres, and the community - a population of 86,112. She leads health education, immunization, rehabilitation of alcoholics, records and reporting to the county, and coordination of health promotion activities and groups.

Mary also assisted in devolution of functions from county to sub-county and developed patient/client satisfaction surveys as a quality control measure. She has recommended other nurses to join AKU and but the challenge for them is the distance. Mary had travelled for over 2 hours (110km) from her work to undertake her studies. The county nursing director recently said that Mary “has special aptitudes and especially the organization and leadership qualities”.


PEREZ OBONYO, ‘08 , Head of Nursing Education, Gertrude Hospital, Kenya

Perez has a remarkable number of accomplishments to show for her three years as Head of Nursing Education at Gertrude Children’s Hospital in Nairobi. She has developed Diplomas in Paediatrics, Critical Care and Community Nursing, a programme for Emergency Medical Technicians and two specialty nursing courses, all of which she guided through accreditation by the Nursing Council of Kenya. Perez is now working with the hospital’s management team to establish new paediatric clinics in Maasai Mara and Garissa, and to prepare for accreditation by the U.S.-based Joint Commission International, following in the footsteps of Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi and the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, the only hospitals in East Africa to receive such accreditation to date. Perez says AKU is “very strong in leadership and management” and counts her education there as the “basis of my future career.”


WINNIE SHENA, ‘10 , National Chairperson, National Nurses Association of Kenya

Winnie first put the skills she learned at AKU to use upon returning to her native Kajiado County, home to the bulk of Kenya’s Maasai community. There, she focused her efforts on reducing early pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, female genital mutilation and high dropout rates among girls. For four years, she travelled the county, teaching classes on sexual and reproductive health that involved girls, boys and parents, training fellow nurses in the subject and working with teachers and school administrators to try to keep girls in school. In her current position at the helm of the National Nurses Association, one of her main goals is to instill in her fellow nurses a deeper sense of confidence, professionalism, agency and responsibility. “For me, the starting point was to realize that nursing is not just the skills you use by the bedside, it’s responding to the needs of the community,” she says. “You can influence policies, you can contribute to economic development. And that I learned at AKU.”