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Turkana County to strengthen home care for Covid-19 patients
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|Turkana County to strengthen home care for Covid-19 patients by Kenyans247(1): Mon 02, November, 2020 03:58pm|
By Sammy Lutta
Nation Media Group
Lodwar County Referral Hospital which is currently a a Covid-19 hotspot.
File | Nation Media Group
The Turkana County government is partnering with the International Rescue Centre (IRC) to strengthen home-based care for Covid-19 patients amid a surge in the number of infections.
Three teams comprising frontline workers including nurses, ambulance drivers, public health, clinical and laboratory officers at high burden Turkana Central, Turkana South and Turkana West sub-counties have been trained on care and treatment of asymptomatic patients isolated at their homes.
This is after it was confirmed that the county, with a total of 476 confirmed cases, has only six operational institution-based isolation centres, down from 18.
IRC official Joshua Rutto said the three teams were trained on all the necessary guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
He said that with the surging number of Covid-19 cases, the county does not have adequate institution-based isolation centres.
"Turkana Central has four while Turkana West and Loima sub-counties have one each. Strengthening home-based care for the patients will also reduce pressure on health facilities that should continue handling daily clients and prevent spread of the disease," he said.
Head of County Health Rapid Response Team Dr Gilchrist Lokoel confirmed that of the total 126 active cases, 84 patients are on home-based care.
Dr Lokoel said that health workers have been a high risk group with a cumulative number of Covid-19 positive health care workers of 65. Currently, 53 health care workers are being treated and managed.
He said that they have approved a raft of measures, including the immediate appointment of a Covid-19 focal person at Lodwar County Referral Hospital (LCRH) which is currently a hotspot, to initiate measures aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus.
He said a psycho-social support team had been formed to offer counselling services alongside treatment to the affected staff and their relatives.
"We have approved the proposal to have all employees of LCRH undergo coronavirus tests in the next one week for the safety of both medics and clients," Dr Lokoel said.
The devolved unit is re-activating the Kanamkemer Covid-19 case management team as well strengthen partnership between LCRH and the Turkana Central Sub-County case management team.
The effectiveness of the current response mechanism was being reviewed with plans already in place to deploy the biggest percentage of the newly recruited health care workers to LCRH and at the same time ensure that feeder facilities receive additional staff.
Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok said that the surge in infections at the main county hospital was a big blow to service delivery, noting that those who tested positive include nurses, clinical officers and lab technologists from at least 16 departments.
"We have been forced to scale down services by halting some critical services that were being offered by those infected with the virus. We appeal to patients to opt for nearby health centres," Governor Nanok said.
He said the facility has been fumigated with an additional 100 healthcare providers being employed to ensure resumption of the halted services.
Prevention measures ignored
The county boss, however, blamed the hospital’s management for the spread of the disease, noting that his order to ensure that strict adherence to Covid-19 prevention measures was not being respected.
Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro called on more health partner agencies to co-ordinate with the devolved unit to equip strategic dispensaries, health centres and hospitals to have capacity to combat the disease in case the situation worsens.
Turkana IRC Field Manager Anthony Wachira noted that through a grant by Novartis, the organisation will also focus on training community health volunteers and community disease reporters to facilitate public sensitisation on Covid-19 prevention in remote areas.
Turkana County has so far conducted 4,789 Covid-19 tests.
Seven people have been confirmed dead. They are a child and five adults, all refugees from Kakuma Refugee Camp, and another person from Turkana North Sub-County.
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