Kenyan Nurse among the Finalist for the Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award 2023

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Christine Mawia Sammy, Nurse, Kitui County Referral Hospital

Public Encouraged to Vote as Winning Nurse to Receive $250,000           

The general public voting system is now open to select the winner of the 2023 Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award. 10 finalist nurses have been selected from more than 52,000 entries across 202 countries. The grand winner will be awarded $250,000 at the ceremony in London, to be held on International Nurses Day (12 May 2023). Two African Nurses – Christine Mawia Samy from Kenya and Wilson Fungameza Gwessa from Tanzania among the top 10 finalists. Public Voting link – https://apo-opa.info/3Kprf3j

The voting system is now open for the public to cast their votes for the 2023 Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award, and select a grand winner.

Last week, it was announced that two African nurses have been selected as finalists, joining another eight who were chosen from more than 52,000 entries from 202 countries.

Christine Mawia Sammy established the first-ever newborn unit in Kitui County, Kenya in 2010, reducing neonatal mortality from 50% to less than 10% in just a year. Her work has already seen her receiving an award by HE Margaret Kenyatta for Nurse-led Initiative of the Year, and in 2022 she was honoured by the President of Kenya as a Trailblazer in Reproductive Health.

Similarly, Wilson Fungameza Gwessa’s work at Muhimbili National Hospital in Tanzania helped to reduce neonatal death from respiratory problems from 14.1% to 5.9% and inspired him to write the first book on nursing in Tanzania, titled ‘Nursing Diagnosis for Academic and Clinical Practice’.

They will join the other eight finalists to face a public voting process, followed by final evaluation by the Grand Jury judging panel. The ceremony will take place on Friday 12th May – International Nurses Day – with the award winner set to receive US $250,000 in prize money.

Speaking on this, Dr. Azad Moopen, Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare said, “Millions of nurses across the world are working hard every single day to serve their patients and form the core of the healthcare eco-system. Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award is our way of acknowledging their dedication and recognizing their work. This year, with more than 50,000 nurses vying for the coveted award, it has been a hard task for the eminent Jury members to shortlist the top 10 outstanding nurses. Each of the finalists have a remarkable trajectory and have made significant contribution to the field of nursing. We wish each of them all the very best.”

If successful, either Christine or Wilson can then look to follow in the footsteps of 2022 winner, Anna Qabale Duba, who has since used her prize money to build a school in her hometown of Turbi, Kenya.

Finalists:  

Christine Mawia Sammy, Kitui County Referral Hospital (Kenya)

With 27 years’ experience, Christine exemplifies the dedication that neonatal nurses put forth to help improve survival of newborns.

She established the first ever newborn unit in Kitui county in 2010 by transforming a single nursery room into an independent newborn unit. By so doing, the neonatal mortality dropped drastically from above 50% to below 10% within a span of one year.

During her role as a newborn health support supervisor in several health facilities, she noticed that most of the neonatal deaths were mostly due to birth asphyxia. In a bid to address the gap and promote newborn survival, Christine worked closely with decision makers and partners who supported her initiatives, despite facing many cultural and religious barriers.

She coordinated newborn resuscitation mentorship across her County by moving from one Sub – County to the other in all the eight sub-counties of Kitui. These initiatives saw the infant mortality drop in Kitui.

In 2021, she was awarded by HE Margaret Kenyatta for Nurse-led Initiative of the Year and in 2022 she was honoured by the President of Kenya as a Trailblazer in Reproductive Health.

Wilson Gwessa Fungameza, Muhimbili National Hospital-Mloganzila (Tanzania)

With just 5 years of experience in nursing, Wilson has made a mark with his extraordinary contribution in curbing neonatal deaths. Initially working at Muhimbili National Hospital—Mloganzila in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Wilson observed that many newborn babies were dying.

At that time, the hospital didn’t have any respiratory support machines (neither a CPAP machine nor a ventilator machine), so normal oxygen therapy was given as an alternative.

This is when Wilson invested and introduced the Improvised Bubble CPAP Device in the hospital which significantly reduced neonatal deaths from respiratory problems.

Wilson has also written a book titled ‘Nursing Diagnosis for Academic and Clinical Practice’.

Last Year’s Winner was from Kenya, Africa

Nurse Anna Qabale Duba was the first graduate from her village and the only educated child in her family. During her nursing studies, she won the Miss Tourism Kenya 2013. She used her influence to advocate for gender equality and education in her community. Under the Qabale Duba Foundation, she built a school in her village where children could study in the morning and adults in the afternoon. She chose education because she understood that illiteracy held people back from learning new things and changing harmful cultural norms.

Apart from learning to read and write, women at the school learned about the importance of antenatal care, skilled deliveries, and Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights. These initiatives got recognition locally and internationally, including winning the Waislitz Global Citizen’s Choice award of $50,000 in 2019. Additionally, the results from this noble endeavour were quite evident. Female genital mutilations and early marriage had reduced tremendously. The largely pastoral community opened-up to women giving birth in hospitals. More mothers started sending their daughters to school.

Nurse Qabale made tangible transformations in her home community, across multiple dimensions of society. Now, the success of her actions is inspiring other people to follow suit.