ARTICLE TYPE

Mental Health

Since the beginning of coronavirus pandemic, Health Care Workers have had to self-isolate from the family and friends to keep them safe, following the ministry of health containment guidelines to assure the safety for community members. Like most doctors, Dr. Anthony Wainiaina, a Physician at Nakuru Level V Hospital Isolation unit is forced to stay away from family and friends, in order to limit the spread of infection.
 
Narrating how the isolation centre operates, he explains that his daily routine which starts as early as 7am involves checking in on both confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases and monitoring their progress, including through additional testing. He ensures that the most severe are placed under intensive care.
 
But despite the demands of his work, Dr. Wainaina appears ever jovial, showing no signs of fatigue or depression. He credits this to being able to chat with his patients and receive 24hr counselling and psychosocial support from Kenya Red Cross Toll-free 1199. 
 
For Dr. Anthony, working for long hours is emotionally and physically draining. However, having patients who come in ill and walk out healthy has motivated him—and inspires him to keep going. But Dr. Wainaina notes that there is a need for frontline healthcare workers to open up and recognize it’s ok not to be ok. He urges his fellow frontline health caregivers to take care of the mental well-being by talking to friends and family, engaging in regular physical exercises, and importantly seeking mental health support when need be.
 
Kenya Red Cross and Ministry of Health Division of Mental Health in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation is providing tele counselling and psychosocial support to frontline health care workers via Toll-free 1199.  Under the Mental Health and Psychosocial interventions, Kenya Red Cross is employing various strategies to reach frontline healthcare workers such as virtual training on Psychological First Aid (PFA).  Currently, over 5,000 Health Service Providers and frontline health workers have been reached with psychological first aid sessions and over 500 MHPSS service providers have been reached with clinical supervision sessions. 
         

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