- Frontline healthcare staff are at an increased risk of moral injury and mental health problems when dealing with challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- From this partnership, 50,000 health workers across the country will be reached with case management training and psychosocial support, through a coalition of professional medical associations.
- Financing for the Kshs.85 million initiative is through a partnership between Kenya COVID-19 Fund and Equity Group Foundation.
Frontline public healthcare staff dealing with COVID-19 patients will receive training on case management, and on the application and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) and on psychosocial support to help them cope with the daily challenges occasioned by their service in the fight against COVID-19 in the country. This year-long intervention will ensure that healthcare workers across the country are well equipped to serve in the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative has been financed by the Kenya COVID-19 Fund and Equity Group Foundation (EGF) at a cost of Kshs 85 million. Kenya Medical Association (KMA) will implement the program together with the National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK), Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU), Kenya Psychiatric Association & Clinical Psychologists’ Association of Kenya. Other Associations that are part of this initiative include the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya, Kenya Clinical Officers’ Association (KCOA), Kenya Pharmaceutical Association and other healthcare professional associations.
Dr. Elizabeth Gitau, CEO of the Kenya Medical Association details the elements of the program by stating “As KMA, the health and wellbeing of our members has been a focus of our interventions. We welcome this initiative that will assist to scale and reach more members. Majority of our public hospitals in Kenya are strained in handling COVID-19 cases. Many frontline workers are ill-prepared to face a global health emergency. These factors can lead to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and a lessening of the professional demeaner and skill which our medical professionals need to care for the public.”
Mr. Alfred Obengo, Chairman of the National Nurses Association appreciated the Kenya COVID- 19 Fund & Equity Group Foundation highlighting that “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact on Kenyans, the frontline workers will remain at the forefront supporting patients to ensure full recovery to health.” He pointed out that in the course of delivering much needed services, healthcare workers are exposed to both physical and emotional challenges posing a threat to their welfare & thus the health care system. “We applaud all our partners who have come to our assistance at this critical time,” Mr. Obengo added.
Mrs. Jane Karuku, the Chairperson of the Kenya COVID-19 Fund Board said, “This request was well-received by the COVID-19 Response Fund Board. We found it a worthwhile undertaking to support the healthcare workers so that they can remain effective in our joint response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Health Committee, led by Dr. James Mwangi has taken an active role in ensuring the success of the programme.”
Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings and Executive Chairman of Equity Group Foundation who also chairs the Health Committee of the Kenya COVID-19 Fund Board said, “Health is not just a physical embodiment but one you carry in your mind all the time. It may be hard to express what you are going through and feeling in such stressful circumstances as dealing with COVID-19, or any other medical conditions. We want to champion the mental wellness of our healthcare workers as well as supporting them physically with the much-needed personal protective equipment and how to apply and use the same.”
To further support and strengthen the health system and frontline healthcare workers in adequately mitigating COVID-19, the coalition will be following Ministry of Health guidelines developed together with the COVID-19 Case Management Training Program to ensure that this training is cascaded to all counties in the country. Case Management training and the psychosocial wellness program targets to reach 50,000 health workers of all cadres to boost confidence and enhance professional acumen in dealing with the COVID-19 health crisis.