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“Keep safe, observe social distancing and frequent handwashing”

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“Keep safe, observe social distancing and frequent handwashing”

— George Osewe, Chair - Board of Directors, Mbagathi District Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
Africa Renewal
From Africa Renewal: 
28 August 2020

George Osewe, Chair is Board of Directors, Mbagathi District Hospital in Kenya
George Osewe, is Chair of the Board of Directors, Mbagathi District Hospital in Kenya. I Mbagathi District Hospital is Kenya’s main COVID-19 isolation and treatment centre.

Can you tell us about yourself?

My name is George Osewe. I am the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Mbagathi District Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.

How are you helping to fight COVID-19?

As Chair of the Board of Directors of Mbagathi District Hospital, which is Kenya’s main isolation and treatment centre for COVID-19 cases, I steer and support the facility's management towards key goals in capacity building, training, isolation, and clinical support related to the coronavirus disease.

We provide medical services, specifically in isolation and clinical care, as well as symptomatic support for COVID-19 patients in Nairobi.

We have also been addressing the training needs of our healthcare workers, including frontline nurses, and also facilitating their protection through the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as the frontline healthcare workers address the clinical and isolation needs of patients and the public at large.

Mbagathi District Hospital is a main isolation and treatment facility centre in Kenya. What is its capacity and that of Kenya's health care system to handle a pandemic of COVID-19 magnitude? 

Through the County government of Nairobi and the Ministry of Health, Mbagathi District Hospital is currently implementing ongoing and incremental measures to expand capacity in terms of isolation beds, intensive care unit (ICU) beds, and ventilators. We are still a Level-4 hospital, with modest capacity, but are currently collaborating with the national government and other partners to expand critical ICUs fully equipped with beds and ventilators.

With the support of the county and national governments, we are sourcing increased PPE supplies such as gowns, gloves and N-95 masks for our healthcare workers and also training staff to enhance safety, prevention and infection control. 

The Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) on COVID-19 is currently engaged in a massive effort in coordinating and mobilizing a prevention and awareness campaign focused on public health education, preventive care, symptomatic care, stocking high-quality PPEs, scaling of isolation and ICU hospital capacity, and training of healthcare staff.

Additionally, the government is scaling water supply capacity to facilitate effective sanitation. 

My main worry is the continued safety and wellbeing of the public that we serve. It is my hope that individuals, families and communities will continue observing the government’s guidelines on reducing the exposure and transmission of COVID-19, especially as the economy re-opens.

What strategy, in your view, has worked well in the fight against COVID-19, and what has not and why?

What works well for us as an institution is the smooth collaboration between our board of directors and the management, which has been effectively, efficiently, and equitably serving the medical needs of our public. We consistently address the concerns of our staff, and robustly work with our partners in the county and national government.

Our main challenges in this war against COVID-19 include keeping up with the growing demand in PPES, holding more training sessions, and critical care capacity. So, we are constantly consulting and engaging our local partners, the county and national governments, seeking the guidance of relevant partner committees and health agencies, and building other supportive networks. 

What are you most worried about in regard to the COVID-19 situation?

My main worry is the continued safety and wellbeing of the public that we serve. It is my hope that individuals, families and communities will continue observing the government’s guidelines on reducing the exposure and transmission of COVID-19, especially as the economy re-opens.

What is your message to people in your country, and to fellow Africans in general, at this time of COVID-19?

Keep safe, observe social distancing and frequent hand washing. It must not be lost to the public that social distancing, frequent hand washing, and the wearing of a face mask or barrier will still stay with us into the foreseeable future. 

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