State under pressure to hire more nurses

George Kebaso @Morarak

The government is under pressure to increase the number of registered nurses and midwives in the country since they play an integral role in health delivery.

 Last week, the reality further sunk that the government will face an uphill task implementing the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goal in its Big Four with the ratio of nurses per 10,000 Kenyans varying from as high as 9.7:10,000 in Nairobi to as low as 0.1:10,000 in Mandera. This is according to the Health Workforce Status Report released last year.

 Globally, nurse patient assignments are based on the acuity or needs of the patient for nursing care. In critical care units such as the ICU (intensive care unit) the ratio may be 1:1 for the sickest patients or 1:2 or 1:3 for patients who are acutely ill but stable.

 Currently, the country has slightly more than 60, 000 registered nurses and midwives further complicating the government’s 2022 targets.

 “Nurses and midwives comprise the largest segment of the health workforce worldwide. In Kenya we have  60,579 registered nurses and midwives. Despite these statistics, nursing care in Kenya is understaffed by about 50 per cent,” Health Cabinet secretary, Sicily Kariuki (pictured) said yesterday at Kenya International Convention Centre during the launch of Nursing Now Campaign.

 The Campaign launched by First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta seeks to influence involvement of nurses and midwives in policy and decision making.

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