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County prioritizes psychosocial support for health workers 

Nakuru County has prioritized protection of healthcare workers as a component of public health measuresn fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

County Deputy Chief Nursing Officer Joseph Ndung’u said the devolved unit was implementing special interventions to promote mental well-being of health workers at all Covid-19 Isolation Centres, with frontline workers receiving psychosocial support.

Speaking at the Nakuru Teaching and Referral Hospital’s Covid-19 Isolation Unit Friday, where management and staff of Legacy Hotels and Suites treated health workers to a luncheon to honour them for their contribution in the campaign against the pandemic, Ndung’u noted medical personnel are at higher-than-average risk of contracting the virus.

He said such acts of motivation boosted morale of health workers as they have a duty of care that enjoins them to serve all without discrimination and have to be well protected.

Legacy Hotels and Suites Chief Executive Ms Alice Kiama with Nakuru Teaching and Referral Hospital’s Covid-19 Isolation Unit health workers whom she treated to a luncheon in recognition of their contribution in the fight against Covid 19 on Friday September 4, 2020

“This isolation facility has 50 health workers who are our soldiers in this critical battle. We thank both public and private institutions that have been visiting this facility and giving our personnel psychosocial support.

When at war, the best thing to do is to keep the soldiers motivated and charged,” said the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer.

Legacy Hotels and Suites Chief Executive Officer Ms Alice Kiama said there was a need for a national dialogue and continuous discussion of health workers’ welfare including motivation, accommodation and psychosocial support based on lessons learnt from other countries.

She noted these workers who were first contact persons with Covid-19 patients were also stressed by fears that they could infect their families or friends.

“A pandemic can exert a serious mental health toll on anyone regardless of whether or not they work in hospitals. There is a need to take care of our health workers all the time,” said Ms Kiama.

She said the contribution of health workers in the fight against Covid-19 was critical in jumpstarting the economy that has taken a severe beating, noting that tourism and hospitality industries were on their knees.

Ms Kiama said though activities in the two sectors were gradually normalizing, stakeholders should strictly observe Ministry of Health protocols including fumigating guest rooms, kitchens, rest areas and tour vehicles.

Legacy Hotels and Suites General Manager Boniface Oduor Ong’alo hailed the department of health for rolling out free Covid-19 testing for workers in the hospitality industry.

He observed that since the recovery of the economy was tied to flattening the Covid-19 curve, frontline health workers need continuous psychosocial support to enable them cope with stressful situations.

The Chief Nursing Officer assured the residents that all health workers at Covid-19 Isolation units had been trained on case management and use of personal protective equipment.

He said the County administration has also rationalized the deployment of health workers by ensuring that the period of this pandemic is taken into account to ensure efficiency and mitigate against burnout.

By Anne Mwale/Dennis Rasto 

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