International Nurses’ Day is observed every year on May 12th to commemorate the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. In Lamu, we dedicate an entire week to honoring our nurses as an invaluable resource in our health care sector and raising awareness of their work and challenges.

This year’s International Nurse’s Day theme, Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and Respect Rights to Secure Global Health, could not be more appropriate.

Throughout the global Pandemic, nurses in Lamu made great sacrifices, acted courageously, and recommitted everyday to combat a global health threat unmatched in modern times, serving as a vital pillar supporting our health care system through one of the most trying times.

We most sincerely appreciate and celebrate all nurses in Lamu County and thank them for their unwavering dedication in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lamu County has historically been plagued by shortage of nurses, something my government has been working to alleviate since we assumed office. By the end of 2016, Lamu County had just 116 nurses spread over all of our health facilities in the ten wards, an insufficient number that occasioned acute shortage affecting quality of health services, particularly in remote health centers.

So far, my government has hired another 167 nurses, increasing the total number of nurses to 283 by 2022. As we speak, interviews are underway to engage 18 additional nurses to provide personnel for the operationalization of our new dispensaries as well as the capacity building of existing ones, such as Witu Health Center, which recently launched theatre services.

For the past four years, we’ve demonstrated that investing in nurses pays off; hiring more nurses and promoting 65 percent of the County’s nurses has resulted in a threefold increase in improved health outcomes.

Almost all of our nurses have received COVID-19 and COVID vaccine training. We also released 22 of our nurses in 2018 to pursue higher education and specialization, in areas like anesthesia, opthalmology, psychiatric, critical care, pediatric nursing among others . In 2022, 45% of all medical personnel released for higher education are also nurses .This is a deliberate move to allow nurses to advance their careers while simultaneously improving health care.

My government has financed four nurses for specialization in Paediatric Critical Care in preparation for the operationalization of our ICU center, and I am pleased to say that one has returned to our hospital after completing their studies. Three of the 18 new nurses who will be hired in the coming weeks will also be critical care nurses who will work in our ICU.

Nurses in Lamu, like their counterparts around the world, continue to play an important role in primary health care, frequently serving as a patient’s first – and only – point of contact. They help with our research, disease prevention, injury treatment, and palliative care, among other things. On the front lines of disease prevention and treatment, they are our truly unsung heroes.

Emphasizing the true value of our nurses, and the central role they play in influencing change, is clearly transforming the future of health care in Lamu.

My Government commits to continue making necessary investment to help improve the attractiveness of the nursing profession in Lamu through purchase of proper equipment, better health infrastructure/ working environment, equal and fair opportunities for promotion, upskilling opportunities, and job creation.

Thank you

H.E Fahim Twaha

Governor, Lamu County