Viola Mukami Karanja

Human Capital Development

Viola Mukami Karanja

(LBR) Liberia:  MidwifeNurse

Nominee Highlights:

The first female and first African Deputy Executive Director for Partners In Health in history, Viola Mukami Karanja’s tireless efforts in Liberia has led to a lasting positive impact on the country’s healthcare system. With her guidance and training, she moulded the next generation of Liberia’s nursing leadership, who have since gone on to make their own substantial contributions to the country’s future. Beyond this, Ms. Karanja’s initiatives in women and children’s health went on to substantially increase the low birth weight infant survival rate and reduce maternal mortality. 

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Viola Mukami Karanja possesses an extensive background in nursing, midwifery and psychology, and prior to her experience in Liberia worked in hospital management in Kenya. Hired by Partners In Health (PIH) in 2015 to promote capacity building of nurses and the rural health system at large, Viola arrived in Liberia four years after the Ebola crisis. After critically assessing needs to improve outcomes, she addressed a significant gap: nurse leadership. The majority of nurses are very young (in both age and experience). Under her guidance, she initiated leadership and quality improvement (QI) training for key personnel and deployed them accordingly to various specialty areas. These new leaders went on to train all nurse supervisors in their system to improve care within their areas. Of note, under Ms. Karanja’s leadership and with her support, one of her fellow nurse pioneers has developed the country’s first acute care and community-based palliative care program, attending to patients and families across the region with an emphasis on alleviating serious health-related suffering in accordance with the Lancet Commission and World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations on universal palliative care access.

*Viola Mukami Karanja not pictured: PHOTO CREDIT- Camila Barrera Daza, Laerdal Global Health.

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