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"More effort, training still needed to fight COVID-19"

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"More effort, training still needed to fight COVID-19"

— Dr. Nancy Abuya, Medical Doctor, Kenya
Africa Renewal
29 June 2020
Nancy Abuya, medical doctor, Kenya
Nancy Abuya, medical doctor, Kenya

My name is Nancy Abuya. I am 42 years old, from Nairobi County, Kenya. I am a medical doctor by profession and I work at Mbagathi Hospital in the capital city, Nairobi.

How long have you been working as a healthcare worker? What made you choose a career in healthcare? Any fears or regrets?

I have been practicing as a healthcare worker since 2005 when I graduated from medical school. I have a passion for helping people and I don't like seeing death as a result of preventable diseases. My grandfather was also in the medical field.

Any fears?

None. I am utilizing my skills as a medic.

Any regrets?

None. I enjoy my work. I have had a chance to practice clinical work, and I am exposed to research work too.

How are you helping fight COVID-19 in your country? How has your work changed since COVID-19 broke out?

I am part of the hospital COVID-19 response team, supervising screening, training, protocol and guidelines, and also giving updates within the hospital.

Work has changed a lot, with my public health and infection, prevention and control (IPC) training being fully utilized at all times.

As Mbagathi Hospital is the main and first isolation/quarantine facility in Kenya, it has received a lot of stigma.

What affects you most in this COVID-19 situation? What keeps you going? How are you coping?

Being in charge of the HIV clinic, I have had to convince my clients to attend and adhere to appointments, and not to miss medication. I give them longer appointments. We have inadequate staff, and hence I worry a lot about setbacks in gains associated with HIV care.

What strategy, in your view, has worked well in this fight and what has not? What should be done to win the war against COVID-19?

What has worked well is public awareness of COVID-19, sensitization, self-quarantine and adhering to guidelines.

What strategy, in your view, has not worked well?

The limited availability of PPE [personal protective equipment] and stigmatization.

What should be done?

We need more trainings and proper screening.