The National Nurses of Kenya (NNAK) is leading the Nurses’ Week celebrations in Kenya. We are tasked with showcasing the role of the nurse and midwife once more and the tremendous gains made in the profession.
Dear Kenyan Nurses and Midwives,
When 2020 was designated as the year of the nurse and midwife, I Had not envisioned it to be a replica of Florence Nightingale’s own experience, war. At the Crimean war, several hundred years ago, this foundress of nursing was at the forefront, nursing soldiers back to health. Florence was the very beacon that shone in the dark skies of infections and injuries. It has been impossible to describe the Crimean war of 1853 to 1856 without mentioning Florence Nightingale.
Similarly, Covid-19 pandemic is a war only against a fluid and invisible enemy. In the annals of history, both present and future, nurses will be heralded as the heroes that rose to be counted.
In light of this, the National Nurses of Kenya (NNAK) is leading the Nurses ’Week celebrations once again this year. As a professional Association established in 1968 and registered under Cap 108 of the Kenyan Laws, we are tasked with showcasing the role of the nurse and midwife once more and the tremendous gains made in the profession. In addition, we endeavour to forge partnerships with other relevant stakeholders to ensure critical investments are made in health.
Cognizant of this, NNAK has adjusted the celebrations to fit in the physical distancing guidelines. We have lined up a series of webinars with nurse-midwife panellists who will be sharing with us on opportunities and areas of focus in the profession. Other key events include the first-ever publication by WHO State of The World’s Nursing report. This will give a snapshot of the nursing workforce globally. The Nursing Now Nightingale Challenge continues to produce a new cohort of young nurse leaders who will take the mantle to the next decade.
I want to congratulate each and every one of you today for a job not only well but excellently executed. When Covid-19 struck, everyone and their pets compared to safety. Our profession became the frontline where this battle is either won or lost. For the first time in a long time, the world holds her breath to watch us work. The world has her head held underwater and we are the first responders.
In the grappling global shortages of personal protective equipment, poor remuneration and substandard working conditions, we have not shied away from the hospital. We keep donning those crocs and scrubs. With hope in our hearts, care in our fingers and confidence in our gait, we strut in the corridors of disease struck hospitals to save one more life.
This year of the Nurse and midwife will undoubtedly galvanize the nursing fraternity to shape our future. Nursing globally will shift. We must position ourselves to herald this shift. It is not too late to unlearn the unhealthy things we have learnt over the years. Not too late to sleeve up and sit at the table of influencers in the health system. We are the vein that is sustaining not only the health but also the economic heartbeat of the entire world. Covid-19 has been pivotal to the change in the healthcare system we so desire in the country called Kenya.
NNAK says it is time. Time for us to embrace the change and rise up to the occasion and lead as the champions of quality healthcare. Time to let our voice be heard as we seek better terms of engagement. Time to strike partnerships with the government as frontline soldiers and not as an afterthought in the medical world. If we have learnt anything, may it be that without you and I, the healthcare systems of the world cease to exist? This is an epiphany of Biblical proportions. My dear colleagues, hold your heads high as the vital signs of hope you are.
In the famous words of Joseph Shabalala, “the task ahead of us can never ever be greater than the power within us.”
May God Bless the Year of Nurse and midwife 2020.
National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNA-Kenya)
The Nurses Complex
Kenyatta National Hospital Grounds Nairobi-Kenya
Beyond the M.O.H Government Chemists Department
P.O Box 49422–00100