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Continuity of care in a safe environment

<div><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><img src="/nairobi/PublishingImages/continuity%20of%20care%20body.jpg" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/></span> </div><div><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">
The spread of the COVID 19 pandemic has disrupted our normal
daily activities including the delivery of healthcare services. However, our
healthcare needs have not changed. Pregnant women still require their
ante-natal care, children need to be on schedule for their vaccinations,
emergencies need to be attended to, people living with chronic illnesses like
diabetes, hypertension, cancer and others still require access to physicians,
for continuity of care.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">While one appreciates that the delivery of care may be
disrupted by the movement restrictions and the need for social distancing, it
is important that we in the healthcare sector ensure continuity of services so
that all patients receive the care they need, promptly. If we fail to do so we
risk an even bigger healthcare crisis in the near future. </span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">With the fear of going into hospitals now rife amongst us,
Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi has heeded the government’s call to
ensure continuity of care for all, by enhancing safety measures for patients
and staff and communicating these to the public. </span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Safety in hospitals</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">As a standard, safety at the hospital is a top priority for
any healthcare provider. Now with the reality of COVID-19, we are even more
vigilant. We have, for example, formed a disinfection team consisting of
members who are specially trained by Infectious Disease experts to clean and
disinfect the Hospital and Outreach clinics 24 hours 7 days a week, for the
safety of all persons utilizing our services. In line with the government’s directive,
everyone visiting our facilities (the Hospital and clinics) is screened on
entry and their temperature is measured. All persons must wear a mask and
sanitize their hands before entry into the facility. We are also enforcing
social distancing rules and have arranged for additional waiting areas for
patients.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Safety of healthcare workers</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">One of the biggest challenges for countries who were hit by
the pandemic earlier than us was the high infection rates amongst healthcare
workers. This is thought to have accelerated community infections in some of
the countries. The safety of healthcare workers has, therefore, been a top
priority for us. We prioritized training for all our staff on COVID-19 even
before the first case was reported in Kenya. Besides ensuring that we have
appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our caregivers. We spent a
substantial amount of financial resources to ensure that we have 6 months’
worth of PPE supplies for our care providers and staff. We have also issued all
our staff with masks, digital thermometers and individualized hand sanitizers
to ensure their safety at all times. </span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Free COVID-19 testing</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">To enhance the safety of patients and caregivers, we have
introduced free COVID-19 testing for all our in-patients, surgical and day
surgery patients as part of our safety measures to provide a safe environment
for all patients and staff. This will also enable us to determine the best
approach to care for our patients including the appropriate use of PPEs during
their stay in the Hospital. We continue caring for all patients and have made
arrangements for separate facilities and isolation wards for patients who might
need them. Strict safety protocols are observed. </span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Telemedicine</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">We understand that some patients such as the elderly might
not be able to come to hospital even when they need care. Therefore, we have
introduced Telemedicine services especially for patients who might benefit from
this initiative and just need a follow-up. Through this, patients continue
receiving the quality care they need from their trusted doctor, via phone or
zoom. The service is augmented by mobile laboratory and pharmacy delivery
services, both of which are offered free of charge to ensure you continue to
receive care, as your health matters to us. </span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">The World Health Organization has indicated that coronavirus
may be with us for a while. We must, therefore, find a way to adapt to the new
normal and continue with our lives. Thus, delivery of healthcare in a safe
environment is our priority.
</span></p></div><div><span style="font-family: helvetica;">
</span><strong><em> By Dr Shawn Bolouki, Vice President, Health Services and Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan University Hospital Nairobi</em></strong>

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