Distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) worth Ksh200 million is currently on-going to safeguard the safety of nurses and other healthcare professionals at the forefront of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) war.
The National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) and other healthcare associations which are providing technical support to the Equity Group Foundation and the Kenya COVID-19 Fund who are jointly undertaking this initiative.
NNAK’s President Mr. Alfred Abengo revealed this while speaking on the preparedness to counter the rising cases of COVID-19 among healthcare workers.
“As of now, we have jointly been able to procure PPEs worth Sh.200 million which we are currently distributing to our health workers and nurses across the country,” said Mr. Abengo.
He indicated that this exercise is among the association’s three priority measures to safeguard healthcare workers which include proper training and provision of psychosocial support.
NNAK is part of the team that has been providing technical support to the Kenya COVID-19 Fund in partnership with the Equity Group Foundation that has mobilized Sh1.2 billion so far, which will go towards supporting healthcare professionals.
He said so far, the team has gone further to mobilise more resources from well-wishers, partners and friends of nurses and urged both the national and county governments to increase allocation of resources to enable the healthcare personnel to fight the pandemic.
While advocating for more resources, Mr. Abengo reiterated that nurses and midwives among other healthcare personnel are underequipped, understaffed, undertrained and therefore additional investment is needed to address these three critical gaps.
He added that amid the rising cases of COVID-19 across the country, the situation in healthcare centers has continued to move from bad to worse, a development that is endangering not only the lives of healthcare workers but also that of their families. This, he said, may be a hindrance to offering quality services, putting into consideration the fact that the ratio of nurses to patients has not been attained.
“We urge the government to provide necessary protective gear and training to health professionals for this is critical in offering health services to Kenyans. Our nurses and midwives need to be secured, now more than ever,” he emphasized.
So far, Kenya has recorded three fatalities among healthcare professionals, a matter that has raised concerns on the safety of their working environment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. In Kenya, NNAK has rolled out a campaign that is aimed at recognizing, celebrating and honoring the nurse and midwives while also highlighting the challenges they face.
Mr. Abengo further urged all the healthcare professionals and members of the public to take personal responsibility in efforts to help curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.