(Photo: Amref Health Africa/Jeroen Van Loon)
March 11, 2020 — In support of Kenya’s efforts to respond to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Amref Health Africa has partnered with the country’s Ministry of Health to improve surveillance, early detection and track the spread of the disease.
Using Leap, a mobile phone platform Amref created to train health workers, Amref and the Ministry of Health are launching a two-month campaign to educate health workers on COVID-19. This will enable health care workers to educate communities on the virus and relevant prevention measures. Using the mobile learning platform, health workers will also be trained to identify, isolate and refer suspected cases as well as maintain safety standards at points of entry or high-risk areas to prevent possible transmission.
Kenya has been identified as a Level 1 country for the coronavirus disease that was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. The US Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) levels range from Level 1: Practice usual precautions to keep yourself from getting sick if traveling to the country to Level 3: Avoid all nonessential travel. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC and national governments are working to put in place surveillance, prevention, and control measures.
With funding from the African Union Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Amref Health Africa will reach 24,000 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and 2,000 health workers.
Amref Health Africa has supported Ministries of Health and WHO during outbreaks including the Ebola outbreaks in Uganda 2000 and 2012, Ebola outbreaks in Senegal and Guinea in 2014, Cholera outbreak in Kenya (2017) and Lassa fever in Nigeria (2018). Amref works to contain the outbreaks using community education and facilitates the provision of critical health care to remote communities across Africa.
Amref has trained numerous health providers in infection prevention and control. This includes providing guidelines on specimen collection, storage and transportation for safe delivery of samples to reference laboratories for confirmation amongst other activities.
Emerging technology provides a great opportunity to break health system barriers to increase uptake and use of services. With Kenya’s mobile penetration edging towards 100%, more and more Kenyans are increasingly using digital technologies. For this reason, the adoption of emerging digital technologies to increase access to health services, build the capacity of the health workforce, influence behavior and promote positive health change cannot be overlooked.
In Kenya, Amref has leveraged digital tools to provide accredited training to thousands of health workers across all levels of the health system.