A Kenyan woman has been recognised by Pretoria (UP) as the youngest person to graduate with a PhD from the School of Health Systems and Public Health in the faculty of Health Sciences.

Dr Rose Nabi Deborah Karimi Muthuri, 24, recently graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Systems, becoming Kenya’s youngest female Ph.D Holder. 

On the university website, she says earning her Ph.D is one of the biggest highlights of her academic career.

 “I hope this will inspire more young people to pursue their dreams. It was an extremely challenging journey, but also a blessing and a dream come true,” she said.

Dr Muthuri hopes to use her doctoral thesis which highlights the importance of improving the health and well-being of healthcare workers, to enhance the performance of health systems. “I realized that there was a gap in the positive mental health aspects among the health workforce, and chose to pursue a Ph.D in health systems to gain an in-depth understanding of these workers and their well-being,” she said.

Dr Muthuri, an alumni of the United States International University-Africa in Kenya (USIU), holds a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology (2018) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology (2016), where she graduated at the top of her class.

Her secret, she reveals, is focusing on the concept of self.

“The idea is never to lose one’s concept of self, because that is what makes an individual unique. Putting God first keeps me motivated and inspired to contribute to improving the health and well-being of others,” she said. Dr Muthuri follows closely in the footsteps of Dr Purity Ngina, an academician and Research and Assessment Manager at Zizi Afrique Foundation. Dr Ngina became Kenyan youngest (Ph.D) graduate in Biomathematics at the age of 28 years.