Dubai: World's best nurse announced; wins $250,000

Kenyan national Anna Qabale Duba has been crowned the first-ever recipient of the Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award

Follow us on Google News-khaleejtimes

Photo by Rahul Gajjar
Photo by Rahul Gajjar

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Thu 12 May 2022, 1:11 PM

Last updated: Thu 12 May 2022, 10:26 PM

Kenyan nurse, gender justice champion and educationist Anna Qabale Duba was crowned the first-ever recipient of the Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award.

Anna won the prestigious title on International Nurses Day, celebrated globally on May 12. By winning the prize, Anna has bagged a cash prize of $250,000 from Aster DM Healthcare, the UAE-based Indian conglomerate that launched the award.

During a glittering ceremony at Atlantis, The Palm, Anna accepted the Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award from Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman of Dubai Airports.

Anna, the founder of the Qabale Duba Foundation in Kenya, has been championing against harmful cultural practices against women, such as - female genital mutilation (FGM) and early or forced marriage.

Her foundation has been empowering women through education, implementing peace-building activities, and advocating for girl-child education.

‘This is a win for rural Africa.’

Fighting tears of joy after her name was announced by chairman and managing director of Aster DM Azad Moopen, Anna said, “I am happy and proud to have been given this tremendous honour. Growing up in a rural village in Kenya, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be celebrated on a global platform such as the Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award.”


Anna opened a school in her village that serves the children in the morning and adults in the afternoon. Anna is the former Miss Kenya Peace and Investment, a title she has used to reach out to fighting communities and champion peace. She was recognised as one of the Top 100 most influential young Africans in 2020.

Anna said, “This is a win for Africa, a win for Kenya, and all the girls and women in the rural villages across Kenya.” She added, “I am the first graduate girl from my village and the first out of 19 children in my family to receive a college education. After having a taste of education, I decided to go back to my roots and fix the many social injustices my community was facing. Low literacy is often associated with poor health.”

She thanked her mother, husband, and two children for their steadfast support and said, “I also want to thank my colleagues at the Marsabit County in Kenya. It is incredible to spread my wings and do this community work.” Anna also said the global nursing community could not be taken for granted as they are the backbone of the healthcare sector.

‘We need to change the status of nurses’

Dr Moopen also confirmed that the Aster Guardians Global Guardians Award would be an annual prize for nurses across the globe. Future award ceremonies would take place in other parts of the world, such as Africa, encouraging nurses from all aspects to seriously consider taking up the profession, explained Dr Moopen.

He said, “There is a lack of 6.5 million nurses. By 2030, according to several international nursing organisations, it is predicted the numbers could go up to 13 million.”

Commenting on Aster DM Healthcare’s decision to launch the global award, Dr Moopen said, “Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system serving millions of patients every day. It is a great sacrifice on their part. Nurses work without thinking of their families, and we need to celebrate them. With the Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award, we are not just celebrating nurses close to home, but even those across the world.”

In a special video message during the event, the director-general of World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “The pandemic has shed light on the incredible work done by nurses. However, our appreciation must go beyond awards and applause and governments must work towards the wellbeing of nurses of which a majority of which are women. Systems must be put in place to safeguard the safety of nurses.”

He also called for massive acceleration in nursing education, investment in nurse leadership and share policy and management decisions.

How was the winning nurse selected?

Anna was the chosen one among ten finalists selected from across the world, including the UAE. The nurses were chosen from over 24,000 applicants from 184 countries through a stringent review process run independently by Ernst & Young LLP, a screening jury and a grand jury.

All applications were evaluated to create a shortlist of 181, which underwent further review to put forward 41 top applications. The Grand Jury then reviewed the selected 41 applications to announce the top 10 finalists.

The winning nurse was judged on four primary areas - leadership, research and innovation, patient care, and society and community service.

As part of the celebrations, a group of 50 women healthcare professionals - called Naseej - performed a special fusion dance to celebrate the role of nurses.

More news from