Nursing in Kakamega

Catherine is Matron at Kakamega County Referral Hospital (KCTRH). She spent a week visiting Royal Papworth Hospital and Cambridge University Hospitals as part of a Commonwealth Partnership for Antimicrobial Stewardship.

“Two women inspired me to become a nurse. My aunt, she was an amazing nurse. Growing up I really admired the care she provided to people. She was a very caring person. Secondly, my mother, she encouraged me to help people and to lend a hand where I could. Their passion and dedication inspired me to become a nurse and I try to emulate their caring and selfless ways.”

About Catherine

Growing up, I admired the way my mother was willing and ready to help the sick not only within the family but within the community. In the community, she participated actively in resource mobilization to ensure the sick reached the health facility in a timely way.

Thanks to her passion for helping and caring for others, I developed the same, a heart to care for others, those who are not able to care for themselves specifically the sick. I knew from then that caring for the sick was something I wanted to do with my life.

My aunt was a nurse, I saw from her how fulfilling the role of nursing could be. First, I admired the white uniform and white cap that made her look like an angel, respectful, presentable and approachable. What I liked the most was the satisfaction she expressed that she got every day from helping patients in her job and this inspired my own interest in the nursing field. She could frequently mention how she collaborated well with healthcare teams to coordinate patient care and improve outcomes. This to me was amazing! My prayer was not only to hear my aunt’s great stories but work very hard to become one of the great nurses who improves patients’ outcomes.

It is thanks to these great ladies I was inspired to become a nurse!

Starting Nursing

I really enjoyed my nursing training. I gained skills and my commitment grew stronger as I found that I had a rewarding experience with my patients. My first station was a maternity ward. I developed close relationships with mothers, providing their care. During this placement I developed a love for maternity wards and a love for helping mothers have babies. Central to this is my desire to help both mothers and babies survive the birth.

During my training I always went back to maternity settings, I stayed some time in other settings, but I think my superiors saw my love for maternity wards and much of my training was based on these. They helped me follow my passion. As a nurse, I am always challenging myself to keep current on medical trends and training so that I can provide the best care to my patients.

I then decided to do a masters in midwifery, so I could help reduce maternal and infant mortality. This drives me. I wanted to empower nurses and midwives to help save lives. This is so important in Kenya as we are still experiencing a high number of maternal and neonatal deaths. Being the first one to see her baby, a new life coming into the world is an incredible experience! The nurse midwives are blessed to witness this daily.

  • Kenya’s Under five mortality rate is 41.9 per 1,000 live births.
  • The maternal mortality ratio is 342 per 100,000 live births.
  • For context the UK’s under five mortality rate is 4.2 per 1,000 live births and the maternal mortality ratio is 7 per 100,000 per live births.

Visiting Cambridge

It has been so interesting to see the difference between doctors and midwives in the UK compared to in Kenya. I have loved seeing the set-up of the midwives and nurses in CUH and RPH.

The resources available is the biggest difference between the Cambridge and Kakamega. One of our biggest challenges in Kakamega is space, so our patients have reduced privacy, we have to fit everyone in, in anyway we can. In the UK you have drugs, supplies and equipment available for your patients, whereas in Kakamega we sometimes can’t assist patients in a timely manner due to lack of these supplies. We need the right resources at the right time. This is difficult in Kakamega and interferes with quality of care we are able to provide.

It has been great to see how the teams in Cambridge work together. The Pharmacists role in quality care of patients was amazing! Different team members’ knowledge and skills come together to provide care. It is interesting to see how this works, of course technology also helps this. For example, I have seen how microbiology links to clinical and pharmacy ensuring the correct medication for patients. This is a good way of rationalising the use of antibiotics . I loved the way the microbiologists blend with other clinical team members discussing patient care not only in group meetings but also in the wards.

The WHO state that the irrational use of antibiotics is a ‘global major problem’. Furthermore ‘The overuse, underuse or misuse of medicines results in wastage of scarce resources and widespread health hazards…improving the use of medicines by health workers and the general public is crucial both to reducing morbidity and mortality from communicable and non-communicable diseases, and to containing drug expenditure.’

The way feedback is received has been really interesting to see. Here there are various committees and team meetings to get feedback from staff. Similarly, it has been nice to see the importance of the senior management teams’ oversight in the hospitals. They see things from a higher level, they can also ensure resources are available for staff and patients.

The last thing to say is that our time has been too short, and I loved going punting!


Kenya (KEN) – Demographics, Health & Infant Mortality – UNICEF DATA 

United Kingdom (GBR) – Demographics, Health & Infant Mortality – UNICEF DATA

Promoting rational use of medicines (

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