By Rebecca Mugo
A nurse working at Marsabit County Referral Hospital has won the prestigious Aster Guardian Nursing Award emerging the best in the world.
Anna Qabale Duba beat over 24, 000 nominees across the world and was shortlisted among the 10 finalists to the award before trouncing the nine to emerge victorious during a ceremony held in Dubai.
The 31-year-old mother of one is the only girl from Torbi village lucky to have set her foot in University and is a graduate nurse from Kenya Methodist University and currently pursuing masters of science in Field Epidemiology at Moi University.
Under her Qabale Duba Foundation, she runs a school at the village, Torbi Pioneer Academy, that hosts children in the morning before ushering parents in the afternoon for sexual and reproductive health lessons.
The community-based organization also focuses on empowering pastoralist girls and young mothers and has already initiated PAPA (pads and panties) project where pads and undergarments are distributed to rural school girls in the region.
Speaking after being announced the finalist, Ms Qabale admitted the fight against FGM and early marriages was an easy one due to patriachal nature of the pastoralist communities.
Reports show that around nine in 10 girls are subjected to the cut in the Northern region.
Different from the norm where girls are married off immediately after going through the cut, the nurse survived a forced marriage while aged 14 years and two years after she was “cut”.
The Award was founded in 2021 to appreciate selfless humanitarian care extended by nurses globally.
The prize will see the nurse take home a whooping Sh29 million which she says will help her expand the school.
“Though the task is hard, I am committed to ending the vices through educational programs,” she told The Press Point.
The award is second after the Global Citizens’ People’s Choice Award in New York in 2019.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe described Ms Qabale’s win as an inspiration for the country in its efforts to build a strong public health system.
He said the award is the result of hard work and a fearless spirit that has now earned the nurse the prestigious title that will always be a reminder of her dedication.
“It is gratifying that during her acceptance speech, she dedicated the win to her country, Kenya, and all the girls back in the village,” Mr Kagwe said.
The Qabale Duba organisation in 2018 built two classrooms and started Torbi pioneer academy which currently hosts 68 children in their nursery school.
At the Marsabit Referral Hospital, Ms Qabale heads Emergency services and the beyond zero activities that include care to Pregnant Mothers and children in hard to reach areas within the county.