November 20, 2023

Focus on Women in Healthcare Leadership in Kenya

Judith Adhiambo Amolo

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“I am a woman, and that’s my power!”

In a constantly evolving world, the essence of womanhood stands as a powerful force that has shaped societies, broken barriers, and overcome challenges throughout history. “I am a woman, and that’s my power” is a common declaration that resonates with strength, resilience, and the unique qualities that define the feminine spirit for women leaders within the Coastal region in Kenya.

On Thursday,16th November 2023, Strathmore University Business School (SBS) and Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) hosted the second Focus Group Discussion at Serena Beach Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya. An initiative belted under the Driving Country Level Change – Women in Healthcare Leadership in Kenya Project, it is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It seeks to represent an overarching voice, shedding light on the multifaceted challenges and critical enablers shaping the career trajectories of women in Kenya’s health sector. The event was lustered by high-level women leaders representing faith-based organizations and NGOs that focus on Health matters, in Mombasa and its neighboring counties.

Charity Kamau, Head of Programmes at KHF, moderated the event while  Ruth Warutumo, from HENNET (The Health NGOs Network) delivered an enthralling opening remark. Ruth set the stage for a sagacious discussion by emphasizing the importance of creating perpended networks for women.  These networks are instrumental in helping women navigate systems that foster career advancement, particularly within the healthcare space.

Dr. Sam Oula, Medical Director and Consultant Pediatrician, Aga Khan Health Services, Mombasa Cluster, delivered the keynote speech. He emphasized the crucial need to recognize women as leaders across diverse careers and to  embrace the distinct strengths women embody as individuals. This acknowledgment grants them a unique standing as equally respectable members of the society, empowering them to use their voice and make meaningful contributions, particularly in the healthcare industry in Kenya.

Dr. Elizabeth Muthuma, faculty member at SBS, introduced the Women in Health Leadership Project, outlining its significance in transforming the healthcare sphere in Kenya and the goals of the project.

Based on the Focus Group Discussion, the contributions of women in Kenya’s healthcare sector are sparking dialogues that transcend rhetoric, laying the groundwork for concrete change in advancing women’s leadership. An amalgamating resonance from the discussions highlighted that embracing femininity in leadership can be a powerful and transformative approach that contributes to a more inclusive, collaborative, and effective work environment. While leadership qualities have traditionally been associated with stereotypically masculine traits, recognizing and valuing femininity in leadership enriches organizational culture and enhances overall success.

In the heartbeat of Kenya’s healthcare sector, the symphony of progress must be orchestrated by the inclusive leadership of both men and women. Embracing the diverse strengths, insights, and resilience of women in healthcare isn’t merely a step forward; it’s the transformative key to unlocking a healthier, more equitable future for all. As we champion women’s leadership, we heal, innovate, and empower, forging a path where every voice, regardless of gender, harmonizes to deliver compassionate, comprehensive, and groundbreaking healthcare solutions for the nation and beyond.

Judith Adhiambo Amolo

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