The government has unveiled a Covid 19 contact Centre for front line workers at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
The contact Centre will offer psychosocial support to the front lien health care workers as well as provide a platform to access information and exchange practices among the practitioners.
Speaking when he launched the contact Centre at the National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) headquarters , Information Communication Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said following the Covid 19 pandemic , health systems are now challenged more than ever with health professionals having to deal with the double burden of managing the disease as well as stigma and fear of contracting the disease.
“The Ministry through Konza Technolopies Development Authority (KoTDA) will provide technical support , reliable infrastructure and devices that will be linked to the national data centre located at the Konza technopolis”, the CS said .
He explained that the creation of the contact Centre will see health care workers able to call and talk to someone across 45 counties and be offered psychosocial support .
“The health care workers are not immune to stresses that we all go through, in fact they see more suffering of people and need to get support even when in remote areas, thus the creation of the contact centre”, he said
Mucheru said that there is a data centre which will store information of all the health care professionals but also those that are going to be providing them support and this has been done with the support of equity foundation who will paying some of these people providing the support that is necessary .
During this difficult time of Covid 19, the support for the centre will go a long way to ensure there is sanity.
The Konza , Mucheru said currently has a data centre that will be providing equipment that can be used across all the health centers in the country and that the government is working to connect all the health centers with internet to see more services being offered.
Through Telemedicine for example he said will ensure that one does not necessarily need to physically see a doctors but use the technology to get results and this he said limits the amount of contact happening but also provide better information.
The CS noted that the partnership with the ministry of health will see every citizen have Electronic Medical Records (EMR) just like huduma number so that wherever they are in any part of the country one can be able to access their records and they are able to get right treatment.
On the Application and innovation the country has been representing, the CS note that multi groups have been putting in entries and gave an example of Konza which has already held a hackathon challenge on how to fight the pandemic and received 300 applications .
“Once they shortlisted and gave them another challenge, he explained that they have now come down to 15 innovators that are being coached on how to market and are now receiving support such as funding to advisory services
The Covid 19 advisory committee chaired by Communication Authority, Mucheru said has received over 400 innovations and shortlisted about 100 saying that they will be meeting next week to see how to advance those that have come forward.
“We are seeing great innovations by Kenyans and not just at this Covid time but can be used even beyond. However the ideas will need to be patented in order to protect people “, Mucheru said
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said ICT and technology plays a key role in moving the health sector forward and is fundamental to attainment of universal health Coverage. (UHC)
“This call Centre will come in handy in meeting the needs of all health care workers, and it will provide comfort and encourage health care workers to be able to speak out and share their experiences”, she said ,
Giving an example of the mental health, Dr. Mwangangi explained that the Centre has mapped out all different mental health practitioners in the country and therefore referral will be much better and will be able redirect health workers to nearest Centre and harness ICT in that space.
“ The Ministry of Health, has also adopted the use of mobile and web based applications for data collection and reporting, to monitor and respond to the COVID 19 Pandemic”, she said noting that the MOICT has set up an advisory team, which is currently receiving all proposals on COVID-19 from Kenyan innovators, on ICT solutions on health and other fields.
By Wangari Ndirangu