Amina Keinan, a public health nurse on the HealthPartners Disease and Case Management team, doesn’t dwell on the things she can’t control. Instead, she’s motivated by how she can make a positive difference. You feel this passion and energy when you talk to her – it’s what drives her. It inspired her to become a nurse, to continue her studies in the United States and, most recently, run for parliament in Kenya.
Growing up in Garissa, Kenya
Amina grew up in Garissa, Kenya. Growing up in her village and later as a nurse at the county hospital, Amina has experienced a lot. She’s lived and seen others live the agony of poverty and limited access to health care. She also saw how many girls are discouraged from getting an education and marry young. Some girls also suffer from genital mutilation. “My Dad taught me at an early age that you can be what you want and to never let a man put me down,” shared Amina. “And, his words shaped who I am today.”
With help from compassionate neighbors and a supportive family, Amina became the first in her family to attend college. She moved to the U.S. and became a Registered Nurse. Then, she received her Master’s of Business Administration in Health Care Management. Amina said, “I feel blessed to be where I am. But I see privileges here that many don’t have at home. And I can’t ignore that.”
Amina’s campaign to improve care and equality for women in Kenya
Amina is running for the Kenya Member of Parliament position for women. She’s on a mission to improve women’s health, maternal health, education for girls, gender inequality and social injustice.
“I can be the person that starts change,” said Amina. “I was this invisible kid from a poor village. If I become the voice of the unheard and the have-nots, I can change the system.”
Pregnancy and childbirth is a celebration in U.S. But, it can be scarier for Kenyan women. There are few prenatal clinics, and the maternal mortality rate is high.
“Often times, either baby or mom comes home from the hospital. And if a woman loses her child, the attitude is that you can have another one. We need to break that cycle,” said Amina. “Simple efforts like more hand-washing could make a big difference.” Amina hopes her next chapter in politics will lead to better health and more equal opportunities for women in her country.
Want to learn more about Amina? Check out her website: www.AminaKeinan.com. She’s also on Facebook: Amina Keinan for Garissa County Women Rep 2017 or you can follow her on Twitter @KeinanTeam.