NAIROBI, May 14 (Xinhua) -- A three-day international conference on public health nursing kicked off in Nairobi on Tuesday amid calls for massive investment in nursing services.
The fifth Global Network for Public Health Nursing Conference brought together international policy makers, public/community health nurses, clinical nurse practitioners, midwives and scholars.
In her opening remarks, Kenyan 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.
Margaret said 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.
"It will certainly benefit all our healthcare systems if we invest in building a strong cadre of public health nurses, through rigorous training, specialization and practice to enhance their skills," she told delegates drawn from across the world.
The public nursing conference whose theme is "Public health nurses achieving sustainable development goals (SDG) 3-Good health and wellbeing," is being held in Africa for the first time.
"In my work and visits to health centers across Kenya, I have witnessed the role of nurses and community health workers as key influencers in the health and wellbeing of patients, communities and the populations they serve," she said.
The First Lady called on the conference participants to work together on finding solutions to not only the identified challenges facing the public nursing profession but the entire public health sector.
"The evolving role of public health nursing will be a conversation that you will be considering over the next three days, because we have to avert preventable diseases, provide better care and improve the quality of life of our people, by focusing on community health promotion and prevention," she said.
According to Margaret, a strong health system requires a competent and caring workforce pointing out that globally, nurses provide over 80 percent of healthcare services.
Sicily Kariuki, Kenya's health cabinet secretary said Kenya's efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage can only be realized through skilled and motivated medical staff.
Kariuki said 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.