A Kenyan nurse Anna Qabale Duba is the first winner of the prestigious Aster Guardian Global Nursing Award.
Ms Qabale, who hails from Marsabit county, has taken home a whopping Sh25 million (USD 250,000) after seeing off nine other finalists in Dubai.
She was selected by an eminent grand jury among the initial 24, 000 nominee nurses worldwide before being shortlisted as one of the ten finalists.
While speaking to the Nation on Thursday, she said she was elated for emerging the prize-winner among prominent participants, some of whom were far more experienced and highly educated than her.
“My win has proved to me that I’m doing amazing work and makes me feel that my dreams are valid and headed for even some greater victories,” Ms Qabale said.
She was feted in Dubai at a ceremony held in commemoration of International Nurses Day.
Ms Qabale, who was adorned in cultural regalia, received the award from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority Chairman and Executive Chief of Emirates Airline Sheik Ahmed Saeed Al Maktoum.
“This victory is indeed for my country Kenya, my continent Africa and all the girls back in the villages of my home county, Marsabit,” Ms Qabale added.
Aster Guardian International Nursing Award was founded in 2021 to acknowledge the resolute and selfless humanitarian care extended by nurses worldwide.
She emerged the winner among other nominees after impressively appealing to the eminent grand jury for selflessly dedicating her life in service to the needy girls in Marsabit county.
She has attributed her success to hard work, patience, and above all support from her county.
She is hopeful that she would become an ambassador for all-girl child education not only in Marsabit or Kenya but in Africa as a whole.
Ms Qabale was the first Miss Tourism Marsabit County, Miss Tourism Kenya Peace, and Miss Tourism Kenya Investment 2013/2014.
During her tenure as Miss Marsabit County, she invested her energies in improving menstrual hygiene and education in Marsabit county.
She is the founder of the Qabale Duba Foundation - PAPA Project, a project initiated to equip girls with sanitary towels and panties, to enable them to concentrate on their studies.
She helps girls from needy backgrounds avoid skipping classes during their menses by providing them sanitary towels and panties.
The project which has benefitted over 3,000 girls since its inception has also lifted the burden off the shoulders of many poor parents.
She held that on average, a girl is absent from school due to menses for four days in a month and loses 288 lessons in a calendar year translating to 192 hours of missed learning due to absence from school.
“Since I was a victim of the same predicament, I am passionate about menstrual health” Ms Qabale explained.
The other nine finalists also received monetary prizes at the event.