By Annette Kote
At Kanyakine Sub-County Hospital in Imenti South, Meru County, we meet Joyce Kagendi Rinkanya, a 52-year old Enrolled Community Health Nurse.
Driven by her passion for community service, Joyce has been at the forefront in ensuring the observation of and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines at the health facility. She serves at the outpatient and casualty sections, as a nurse and customer service assistant, responsible for identifying COVID-19 patients and attending to them.
‘‘The information I have regarding COVID-19 is what I watch, listen and read, from different media stations. I am glad that Amref, through the Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) Project, trained my colleagues who have been transferring the same knowledge to those of us who did not attend the training,’’ she says.
Even as she strives to give her best both at home and at work, Joyce still faces a few challenges. As a mother of four children, she admits that working at the facility has not been easy since she has to balance between work and family.
‘‘Out of my four children, one requires much of my attention as he is unable to do things by himself,’’ she states.
Every day, Joyce leaves work at 5:00 pm to go and attend to her family. ‘‘In some cases, I work overnight, and this means, leaving my family to attend to the patients.’’
According to Joyce, dealing with patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been a walk in the park as most individuals are not adhering to the guidelines.
‘‘It even becomes more difficult when my colleagues are the ones flouting the guidelines as this portrays a bad image to the patients visiting the facility,’’ she says.
Kanyakine Sub-County Hospital is one of the beneficiaries of the Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) Project training that took place on between 8 and 11 September 2020 in Nkubu, Meru County. The training, which was conducted by Amref Health Africa, focused on the prevention and control of COVID-19 in highly populated areas and was attended by more than ten staff from the hospital.
The hospital’s Medical Superintendent, Dr Lenah Naitore, says, ‘’This was a unique training. Our staff learnt a lot about hand hygiene, cough etiquette, maintaining physical distancing, masking-up in public, recognising symptoms and taking corrective actions. We are glad that they have been sharing the knowledge gained with other staff like Joyce.’’
Dr Naitore also confirmed that a week after the training, the hospital registered its first COVID-19 patient, referred to Meru Level 5 Hospital for further tests and isolation.
‘‘Were it not for the training, the staff at the facility would have been overwhelmed and unable to handle the patient as effectively and efficiently as they did. Thank you, Amref for the support. We will continue to observe all the COVID-19 guidelines as stipulated by the Ministry of Health and other bodies,’’ Dr Naitore says.
The HBCC campaigns target the general population at community levels and aim to equip frontline health workers with information about COVID-19. All nine sub-counties of Meru benefited from the training with a total of 342 frontline workers trained.
The Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) is implementing activities in ten high-risk counties through to May 2021. The Coalition comprised of stakeholders from both the private and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), has been supported by Unilever and the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development. The activities of the program will reach approximately 5 million people with vital, timely and reliable behaviour change programs to combat and stop the spread of COVID-19.