First Lady Margaret Kenyatta challenged governments to invest more resources in public health nursing so as to achieve aspirations of high quality healthcare provision for all.
According to the First Lady, public health nursing is central to the functioning of any health system and should therefore be adequately resourced in terms of manpower, equipment and continuous capacity building.
The First Lady who spoke when she presided over the official opening of the 5th Global Network for Public Health Nursing (GNPHN) Conference at a Nairobi hotel expressed gratitude that the country has intensified the training, development and deployment of public nurses.
She called on the conference participants, who were drawn from across the world, to work together on finding solutions to not only the identified challenges facing the public nursing profession but the entire public health sector.
She noted that a strong health system requires a competent and caring workforce pointing out that globally, nurses provide over 80% of healthcare services.
While commending the First Lady for being a role model in public health provision through her Beyond Zero Initiative, Education CS Prof George Magoha said he will continue working closely with his health counterpart to ensure the country grows its nursing workforce to meet internationally set standards.
Prof. Magoha further said the government will ensure the highly trained Kenyan nurses are retained in the country by taming the emigration of local nurses into other countries.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said Kenya’s efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage can only be realized through skilled and motivated medical staff. She pointed out that global health challenges require global partnerships and expressed optimism that the three-day conference will come up with resolutions that will help resolve some of the challenges facing the public health sector especially nursing services. Other speakers at the event included University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof. Peter Mbithi and the Chairman of the Global Network for Public Health Nursing Prof Linda Smith among others.