Canadian Nurses for Africa’s Inaugural Training Program in Maternal and Newborn Care

By Margaret Vokes

The program team included two Canadian nursing professors with extensive clinical and teaching experience in maternal-newborn and community nursing. Closely involved were two Kenyan nurse-midwives working at local referral hospitals. These nurses played valuable roles in terms of liaising with the CHPs, explaining key points and clarifying cross-cultural concepts. There were also breakout group discussions and case studies, a new teaching format that was widely welcomed. The sessions were strongly supported by County Departments of Health, and by popular acclaim will be repeated again.

The County Government of Vihiga, Department of Health and CNFA also signed a Memorandum of Understanding during the October trip. This MOU helps to codify the mutually supportive responsibilities of both parties, while enhancing transparency, accountability and efficiency. It also outlines how each party will operate within their own scope of practices and within established guidelines. This partnership agreement is important to strengthening the mutually supportive goals of both of the Parties.

CNFA is a volunteer-led registered Canadian charity. The new training program is in addition to the work CNFA has undertaken over the past twelve years, bringing valuable medical services to more than 100,000 people in remote rural communities in Western Kenya. The nurses on the annual mobile medical missions diagnose, treat and refer an average of 6,600 patients over two weeks in the field. They provide free medications; wound care; malaria and jiggers treatments; deworming, referral and transportation for the critically ill to hospitals; and payment for hospital fees and surgeries.

CNFA also provides sexual health information and teaching sessions; distributes re-usable sanitary pads, provides mobility devices, mosquito netting, shoes, reading glasses, toys and sports equipment. Their ongoing, year-round jiggers eradication program treats an average of 4,000 people annually as well as providing education in schools, home visits, trainer training and support.

RCOT supported CNFA last year by offsetting the costs of medicines for their medical mission. For more information about the good work of this charity, and to support its life-saving programs, please visit the website at