Covid-19 response preparedness in Kenya, access to and utilisation of other essential health services and related experiences of health care providers and covid-19 survivors

Covid-19 response preparedness in Kenya, access to and utilisation of other essential health services and related experiences of health care providers and covid-19 survivors

Pamela Godia1, Joyce Olenja1, Rhoda Kalondu2, Peter Njoroge1, Jacqueline Chesang1, Vivian Manyeki3, Erastus Njeru1

1School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi

2Kenyatta National Hospital

3Mbagathi County Hospital

Introduction. Globally there are over 11 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 with over 538,000 deaths translating to a mortality rate of approximately 4.7%. The current coronavirus outbreak is due to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), that causes the illness referred to as novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). First identified in December in Wuhan, China, travel has been the major driver for international spread. The first coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was reported in Kenya on 12th March 2020. There is community transmission of the COVID-19 in Kenya. The symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, respiratory problems or difficulty in breathing. Infection is through droplets. Persons without COVID-19 symptoms (asymptomatic) are also spreaders. Social distancing, travel restriction and movement, avoiding large crowds, proper use of face masks to cover the nose and mouth, and proper and frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use of an alcohol-based sanitizer are public health measures for controlling the transmission. The current COVID-19 outbreak has provoked social stigma and discriminatory behaviours against health care workers and people who have recovered from the disease. Stigma is cause by members of the public labelling, stereotyping and treating persons who have recovered from COVID-19 differently because of the perceived link to the disease and the fear on infection.

Broad objective: To assess existing Kenyan health system preparedness and response to COVID-19 capacity; the impact of COVID-19 utilisation of other essential health services; and the experiences of both the survivors and health care providers. Specific objectives include: 1)To asses Kenya’s health sector preparedness and response capacity to COVID-19 based on WHO strategic preparedness and response plan; 2)To assess the impact of COVID-19 on access to, and utilisation of other essential health services; 3)To explore experiences of health care workers in provision of services to COVID-19 patients; and 4) To explore the experiences of survivors of COVID-19 patients

Methodology: The study will take both qualitative and quantitative approach. The study will be conducted in top 20 counties that have reported the highest burden of COVID-19 cases based on the Ministry of Health reporting. For health workers and COVID-19 survivors, data will be collected from KNH and Mbagathi County Hospital. Due to the travel restrictions placed in Kenya and in order to comply with social distancing measures, the interviews will be conducted via telephone and/or virtual platforms. At the county level data will be collected by research assistants based in the selected counties. Quantitative data will be collected using a health facility epidemic preparedness checklist adapted from the WHO Operational Planning guidelines to support country preparedness and response. Key informant Interviews and In-depth interviews will be used to collect data from health care workers and COVID-19 survivors. Ethics Approval has been Obtained from UoN-KNH Ethics and Research Committee.

Expected outcome: We expect the results of this study to inform the county government preparedness for COVID-19 pandemic, provide an avenue for alternative source of information and create a dashboard at the UoN-CHS, School of Public Health for continuous monitoring of the course of the pandemic