The 12th ECSACON Scientific Conference is being held in Kenya at Safari Park Hotel Nairobi , Kenya from 7-9 September 2016. The conference brings together more than 600 participants from 16 countries in ECSA region and beyond. The participants include Researchers, clinicians, academicians, nurse leaders, partners and nurses and midwives from the ECSA region and beyond.

The main theme of the conference is “Nurses and Midwives for Universal Health Coverage” and the sub-themes for that conference is;

  1.  Improving access to quality Maternal, New-born and Child Health services
  2. Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Gender Based Violence
  3. Innovations in Health Workforce Development for the 21st Century
  4. Innovations and excellence in providing Evidence Based Nursing and Midwifery care across life span
  5. Prevention and control of Communicable and Non-Communicable diseases including Mental Health and Nutrition

Noting the important role played by nurses and midwives in realizing the ended Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and mindful of the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and considering the important role played by nurses and midwives , the 12th ECSACON Scientific Conference was conceptualized with the major aim of bringing nurses and midwives in ECSA region to share best practices and strategize way forward toward realizing increased access to health services in the spirit of Universal Health Coverage.

The conference was cordially opened by the Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health Kenya Dr.JacksonKioko who graced the occasion on behalf the Minister of Health Kenya Dr.CleopaMairu.

A number of key note speeches addressing main theme and subthemes were delivered by dedicated speakers and more than 200 scientifically sound papers were shared through plenary and parallel sessions including a dedicated poster session.

The conference was featured by significant number of speakers renowned globally and regionally including Dr. Leslie Mancuso the President and CEO of Jhpiego who was the main keynote speaker for the conference. In her speech she reiterated the need of nurses to be on the table where key issues are discussed considering their unique role in health care system at large. She also urged the nurses and midwives in the ECSA region to strive be part of decision making and offer solution. She also reminded nurses to be mindful of data and evidence while making a case in looking solutions for HRH crisis in the region. She cited one example of task sharing where by the role of nurses and midwives is very critical in supporting the agenda of increasing access to health care using Community Health Workers in areas where it has proven to work and avert mortalities and morbidities.

The same message was overemphasized by the Vice president of ICM Prof. Address Malata who urged nurses and midwives to secure a seat in the forum where strategicdecisions are made and in doing that they need to be mindful of the fact that they are privileged to have an opportunity to speak on behalf of more than 7 billion people around the globe and majority of them do not have an opportunity to speak on their own.

The director General of ECSA health Community Prof. Yoswa Dambisya underscored the importance of nurses to be strategic in their engagement, and also calling for continuing partner support. He also congratulated the college of nursing ECSACON and informed the forum that since 1990 when ECSACON was born, there are other professional colleges which have followed suit and established their professional colleges including College of Surgeons (COSECSA), the college of Anaesthesiologists (CANECSA), College of Pathologists (COPECSA) , College of Ophthalmologists (COECSA) and recently launched the college of Physicians (ECSACOP). He informed the meeting that for better coordination the ECSA College of Health Sciences is in place to coordinate the effort while noting the presence of the Senate Chairperson of the CHS and Vice president of COSECSA Prof. Pankaj Jani who also had an opportunity to attend the conference.

Another key note speaker was Dr. Judith Shamian who urged nurses to to get out of their nursing bubbles and speak for the health system at large considering their number and strategic position they have in health system they have an important role to play in shaping the responsive health system.

The forum had an opportunity to hear from the distinguished speakers including Dr. SusanMichaels-Strasser from ICAP who underscored the need for nurses and midwives to expand their reach apart from nursing to the whole health system at large also the forum had an opportunity to hear from Dr. Janette Yu-Shears from US Government Human Resource Services Agency (HRSA) who had an opportunity to underscore the PEPFAR priorities globally and the important role played by nurses and midwives in realizing the PEPFA goal and also highlighted the important areas which nurses and midwives can focus on in realizing the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal.

Reported by Alphonce Kalula, Senior Program Officer- ECSACON

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