The second batch of Health Workers (HWs) in Meru and Embu were trained by a team of facilitators from the Ministry of Health and Amref Health Africa in Kenya using harmonized training content which blends Infection prevention & control (IPC) and behaviour change communication (BCC). The trainings were conducted between 7th and 11th September, 2020 targeting Public health officers/Technicians, Clinical officers, Nurses, Laboratory technologists/ technicians, Hospital administrators, Health promotion officers, Community health strategy focal persons, Community health assistants and Sub County Medical officers of health. The 3-4 hour training sessions in the 2 counties saw 765 out of the targeted 800 trained. This came after initial trainings and launch kicked off in Mombasa and Kwale which achieved 664 of the 800 targeted for the 2 coastal counties bringing the total so far to 1429 for Meru, Embu, Mombasa and Kwale after which the trainings will move to Western and Nyanza region of Kenya for the remainder of the counties i.e Kisii, Migori, Homabay, Siaya and Kakamega and later on to Nairobi.
The Hygiene and Behavior Change Coalition (HBCC) project funded by Unilever and the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID) was rolled out to mount a rapid response to contain and limit the spread of COVID-19. In light of this, HBCC project targets to curb the spread of COVID-19 through infection prevention & control (IPC) and behaviour change communication (BCC) blended approaches. These approaches include mass communication, digital and social media and behavior change programs. The interventions will also include Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) and Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) trainings targeting over 4000 healthcare workers in 10 high risk counties. The aim is to improve capacities of heath care workers to respond as well reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to and from the patient and health care workers and the community.
The trainings are designed to take utmost 3-4 hours each meaning the facilitators will be moving from venue to venue proximal to invited participants to avoid a lot of travels such that 3 concurrent trainings happen in a day per county. Each venue can have between 25 to 35 participants depending on space available observing social distancing.
Designed to sharpen health workers skills and prepare them to drive the behaviour change narrative by deliberately packaging the messages to be cascaded to patients and community members, the trainings were confirmed unique and on point in the prevention and control of COVID-19. This is from the immediate feedback from the trainees and the leadership who highly welcomed the trainings. The health workers who, besides being the first line of defense against Covid-19, also saw it as an appreciation of their critical role in the community and despite the looming strikes in Meru and Embu counties, the trainings were not interrupted as they were regarded as quite important in building capacities of the frontline soldiers to protect themselves, their families and the communities they serve.
During the sessions, the workers shared their experiences during Covid-19 especially as relates to the challenges of stigma and discrimination associated with the pandemic.
With relatively few cases reported in Meru and Embu, concern is still high as they both represent transit towns and have significant populations that may be at risk should there be a major infection in the two counties