Bedevilled by numerous housing challenges, nurses in the country are wading into the real estate scene by constructing a gated community. Nurses Garden is an innovative project by Kenyan nurses to mitigate on socio-economic development of fellow nurses and general members of the public.
Lying on a 10-acre piece of land in Kahawa Sukari ward, Kiambu County, the development offers holistic luxury with a choice of either building your own house or waiting for a ready-made one. “Nurses in this country work long hours.
At night they traverse long and hostile distances where they can afford cheap housing. Salaries earned by nurses have been inadequate to secure mortgage to own decent homes,” laments the National Nursing Association of Kenya chairman, Jeremiah Mainah.
The estate will comprise of 100 town houses and Nurses Mall. The units will feature three-bedroomed maisonettes selling at an opening price of Sh12 million off-plan.
“Nurses work long hours in different shifts and are poorly paid. This poses great risk to their lives as they live in the outskirts of towns and sometimes have to walk through dark alleys to get to the houses they can afford,” he said.
Mainah, who says the project will in future be replicated in the other counties, however, regrets a recent approach to the government to allocate Sh1.2 billion for nurses houses failed, saying that the monies were instead channelled elsewhere.
“With the introduction of a three per cent mortgage scheme for public servants, Nurses Investments (K) Ltd is positioning itself as a link to ensure not only nurses benefit from this gesture but live in leafy suburbs just like other professionals,” explained Mainah when he conducted nurses on a visit of the project during the ground breaking ceremony.
The challenge, which also faces many other innovative ideas has been the start up capital and some nurses thought this project was in ICU with no hope. “We are grateful to Chase Bank who financed the us.
The incubation period has been long, with the faint–hearted opting out while detractors had a field day discrediting the project. Nevertheless, we have overcome these challenges and our ultimate goal is to provide a housing solution to every nurse,” he said.
Chase Bank has availed Sh100 million for construction of the mall, which is expected to be a relief to home owners in Kahawa Sukari accustomed to road side kiosks or covering long distances to Thika Superhighway supermarkets.
The chairman said there is need for both the national and county governments to empower nurses by uniformly implementing a revised Scheme of Service to enable them to invest in tangible projects such as real estate.
This is in addition to recruitment and employment of more nurses to cope with the expanded functions brought about by the devolution and emerging health challenges, besides training adequately specialist nurses to handle the ongoing roll-out of new medical equipment.
Such dreams can be facilitated by both the Senate and Parliament if a revolving fund to ensure nurses are allocated houses under a tenant-purchase programme instead of meagre house allowances. He wishes to see a situation where nurses avoid participating in dangerous strikes.
“The association requests all the stakeholders to allow the Nursing Council of Kenya and Director of Nursing services be held accountable for nursing education and practice,” he says.