At least 31,280 community health volunteers will be trained to identify, treat, and manage COVID-19 cases.
The Sh180 million year-long project is funded by Mastercard Foundation and will be coordinated by Amref Health Africa.
Another 33,104 qualified healthcare providers will also be trained.
Mastercard Foundation said it committed the funds through its COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme, which aims to help communities and institutions in Africa withstand impacts of the pandemic.
“The Africa CDC has made it clear that socio-economic recovery is contingent on our ability to build the capacity of health systems. The Ministry of Health has echoed this and issued a call for support,” said Daniel Hailu, Regional Head for Mastercard, Eastern and Southern Africa.
Amref said health workers to be trained will include 47 county medical laboratory coordinators, 58 subcounty medical laboratory coordinators, 520 laboratory staff from the 57 GeneXpert sites on the use of GeneXpert for COVID-19 testing, biosafety, sample management and referral.
“During this pandemic, partnerships have proven to be essential, particularly in equipping health care personnel and strengthening diverse institutions in the front line against the social and economic aftermath of this disease,” said Dr Meshack Ndirangu, country director, Amref Health Africa in Kenya.
Amref’s existing digital learning solutions (Leap and Jibu) will be used to prepare the health care workers to carry out disease surveillance, referral of suspected cases, contact tracing, uphold biosafety standards, and receive updates on correct measures to prevent and manage COVID-19 infections.
“With the Leap Platform, we were able to immediately support the Ministry of Health’s preparedness efforts by digitising and deploying key COVID-19 messages as well as learning material to volunteers from across the country,’’ said Caroline Mbindyo, CEO, Amref Enterprises.
In the wake of the rising cases of COVID-19, the programme will collaborate with the Ministry of Health to scale testing beyond the existing sites that are offering real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT PCR) screening.
This will be achieved by enabling 57 peripheral health facilities to carry out laboratory diagnosis for COVID-19 using GeneXpert machines.
The funding will equip these laboratories with basic biosafety equipment including autoclaves, biosafety cabinets and biosafety certification to assure safe testing.
Article first published on the-star.co.ke