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Covid-19: How Nakuru is fighting burnout among doctors

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Covid-19: How Nakuru is fighting burnout among doctors by Kenyans247(1): Tue 17, November, 2020 08:23am
What you need to know:
In Nakuru County, authorities have devised ways to tackle burnout among medics as the fight against the coronavirus disease intensifies.
According to the latest statistics, Nakuru has recorded at least 3,400 positive cases after testing about 29,012 samples so far. Its positivity rate stands at 11.4 per cent.
Amid the surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths in the country, health workers have been at risk of burnout as they are in the frontlines.

In Nakuru County, authorities have devised ways to tackle burnout among medics as the fight against the coronavirus disease intensifies.

The county, in partnership with the African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref), has introduced sports, team building and counselling for the health workers.

Health executive Gichuki Kariuki noted that some of the health practitioners have reported cases of burnout due to long work hours and a heavy caseload.

Early this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that the global health workforce was at risk of experiencing burnout due to the pressure brought about by the pandemic.

Easing stress
Dr Kariuki said the aim of the activities is to help them unwind and ease stress.


"Our health workforce is very important. We will have no Covid-19 response soldiers if we do not take care of them. Their needs and well-being must be prioritised as they have been working round-the-clock," said Dr Kariuki.

"The activities are held under strict adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.”

Nakuru health workers' team building at Afraha
Health workers from various Covid-19 isolation centres in Nakuru County take part in physical activities during a team building session at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru Town on November 15, 2020.

Eric Matara | Nation Media Group
On Sunday, for instance, medics from several isolation centres in the county had a team building session at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru town.

The event brought together medical officers, doctors, nurses, public health officers, administrators and other support staff involved in the care of Covid-19 patients.

Besides physical exercises, the group had sessions with professional counsellors.

County statistics
A rise in the number of infections across the country saw Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe call a special meeting on Monday of the National Emergency Response Committee.

According to the latest statistics, Nakuru has recorded at least 3,400 positive cases after testing about 29,012 samples so far. Its positivity rate stands at 11.4 per cent.

Seventy-four people in the county have succumbed to the disease while the number of recoveries is 1,430.

Nakuru health workers' team building at Afraha
Health workers from various Covid-19 isolation centres in Nakuru County take part in a counselling session during team building at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru Town on November 15, 2020.

Eric Matara | Nation Media Group
Dr Gichuki said at least 40 patients are admitted, 15 at Nakuru Level Five hospital, another 15 at the Nakuru Nursing Home, four at Nakuru War Memorial and two each in Naivasha, Langalanga, and Valley hospitals.

"So far, six patients are in ICU whereas 20 patients are on supplemental oxygen," said Dr Kariuki.

Since the outbreak of the disease, 216 health workers in Nakuru have been infected.

Expanded team
In the past three months, Nakuru has hired at least 500 more health workers to mitigate a shortage and enhance service delivery.

Recruited under the Universal Health Coverage Programme, they include registered nurses, specialist doctors, paramedics, physiotherapists, radiographers, clinical officers and public health officers.

The county has also hired 21 medical doctors, including consultants and 30 specialised ambulance operators.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the move was part of efforts to improve services by meeting the recommended doctor-to-patient ratio.


Nakuru initially had 113 medical officers, 14 dentists, eight dental technologists, 156 public health officers, 48 public health technicians, 116 lab technologists, 25 nutritionists, 20 radiographers, 31 physiotherapists, five mortuary attendants, 184 clinical officers and 1,120 nurses.

The county runs 184 health facilities including dispensaries, health centres, level four hospitals and the Nakuru Level Five Hospital.

It has 459 public and private health facilities.

Nakuru health workers' team building at Afraha
Health workers from various Covid-19 isolation centres in Nakuru County take part in physical activities during a team building session at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru Town on November 15, 2020.

Eric Matara | Nation Media Group
Contributing factors
Nakuru’s proximity to Nairobi, the country’s Covid-19 epicentre, its position as a transit town and the newly-opened Naivasha Inland Container Depot are some of the factors driving the surge in infections.

However, the cases are now spreading to far-flung rural areas of Nakuru.

The county’s health department recently issued a warning, noting the need for everybody to remain vigilant.

In a separate warning, Governor Kinyanjui noted that the situation in the rural areas is bound to worsen.

Nakuru, like most other counties, has introduced home-based care for asymptomatic patients.

So far 1,094 patients have been treated at home.

EMatara@ke.nationmedia.com

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