Following the first cases of COVID-19 in Kenya with seven swabs confirmed positive as of March 19th, World Friends and Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital (RUNH) staff is implementing concrete safety measures to lower and stop the rate of infection transmission. With regard to the projects, World Friends activities on the field have been suspended in order to prevent possible contagion.
Work is being done at the hospital to ensure safety of patients and personnel.
References from World Health Organization (WHO) and Kenya Ministry of Health recommended checklists have been used to set up the action plan with the aim of having a facility and staff able to implement measures to reduce and possibily stop the infection transmission. The adopted procedures will help minimize the spread of the virus, especially focusing in the surveillance of potential suspected cases, management of possible infected and infection control and prevention strategies, particularly in case of increase of case numbers.
RUNH Management Team is working in collaboration with Nairobi County and Sub-County Public Health Departments on management procedures of suspected, probable and confirmed cases.
With regard to prevention in the hospital, staff is wearing masks and gloves; hand washing and hand sanitizing points are available; the number of visitors has been restricted and the hospital is being equipped for possible isolation or admission of infected patients.
A specific triage point has been implemented at the entrance since March 16th: people are checked for fever and screened for symptoms and risk factors. Suspected cases will be isolated to be managed and possibly referred in areas of the hospital separated from the rest of the patients. The goal is to separate as much as possible suspected cases form the other patients’ flow in order to reduce contamination.
There are constant indications incoming from expert doctors, long-time World Friends associates, that are already facing an emergency situation in Italy and actively working in red zones. The goal is to enact an emergency response system in a State in which human and health resources are limited to withstand a potential increase of the number of patients. The medical team is now focused on how to contribute to an immediate identification and reduction of possible infections; awareness raising and risk and potential symptoms communication have been the first initiatives, implemented with the set up of COVID-19 informational posters in strategic points of the hosptial.
RUNH staff has been encouraged to undertake WHO online courses on COVID-19 and to attend the courses organized by Nairobi County to curb the pandemic. On-the-job trainings allow a constant and dynamic internal knowledge sharing among practitioners.
RUNH Management Team, in collaboration with the hospital’s Infection and Prevention Control Committee, is focused on ensuring health safety for patients and medical staff. Daily updates and more frequent ones contribute to take measures to ensure a flexible restructuring of hospital activities and to be ready for a possible emergency. Health education activities for patients and personnel are continuous in order to seek accuarate information and take measures to protect themselves and their families.