First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said Friday that nurses play a pivotal role in healthcare provision and called on all stakeholders to invest more resources in the development and continuous improvement of the profession.
She said the role played by nurses especially in the provision of preventive and curative health services is at the core of the county’s health ecosystem.
The First Lady spoke when she presided over the 24th graduation ceremony of the Nairobi Hospital’s Cicely Mcdonell College of Health Sciences where 86 nurses graduated.
Of the 86 graduates, 58 were awarded diploma certificates in Kenya Registered Nursing while 28 earned higher diploma certifications in various nursing specializations.
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The First Lady said through her personal experience, she has seen the need for increased support to expand training and employment opportunities for nurses especially in public health facilities.
She commended the Cicely Mcdonell College of Health Sciences for its high quality training saying modern nursing requires high levels of competency and skills to be able to deal with new developments in medical technology.
“The outstanding education offered by the professional faculty and practical training in this hospital will help equip the students as they start their nursing careers,“ said the First Lady.
She thanked the college for its contribution in the development of a competent and appropriately skilled nursing workforce noting that the institution injects 100 nurses annually into the country’s medical service.
Before presiding over the graduation ceremony, the First Lady officially opened the new maternity and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the hospital.
The new NICU has a bed capacity of 16 patients while the Neonatal High Dependence Unit can accommodate 20 patients.
The Cicely Mcdonell College of Health Sciences is one of the few training institutions in Kenya that offer training in neonatal nursing.
The First Lady thanked the college for collaborating with both local and foreign institutions to offer high quality training to health workers in different specialties including foreign trainees.
”The Cicely McDonell College has opened up opportunities to many Africans seeking careers in nursing. It has trained students across the 47 counties in Kenya. It has drawn students from Rwanda, Malawi. Ethiopia and Uganda,” said the First Lady.
She challenged the new graduates to be selfless and aim at being change agents in the various facilities where they will be offering their services.
“I urge you to remain strong in your determination to be change agents as your perform your multiple roles – at the bedside, administering treatment regimes, in the theatres, or as you interact with the sick and families,” said the First Lady.
“Let your professionalism, your willing spirit and your passion distinguish you as you grow in your careers,” she added.
In a speech read on her behalf by Dr. Anne Wamae, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the expected launch of oncology training at the college would help in the efforts to realize the Universal Health Coverage goal of the Government’s Big 4 agenda.
The health cabinet secretary said her ministry will continue working closely with all stakeholders inorder to keep growing the capacity of healthcare providers as the country moves towards UHC.
Dr John Simba, the chairman of the Kenya Hospital Association urged the fresh graduates to continuously seek knowledge and skills to meet the ever dynamic needs of the health sector.
Nairobi Hospital’s chief executive officer Gordon Odundo thanked the First Lady for inspiring many medical professionals in Kenya and the region through her transformational Beyond Zero initiative which is successfully implementing several programmes touching on child and maternal health.