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The training was graced by the Director, Research and Postgraduate Support, and steered by the Chairperson, Department of Nursing Research Education and Management in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedical Sciences (SoNMAPS)- who is also the project’s Principal Investigator (PI). Other investigators in the research team include Dean, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedical Sciences , Ms. Milka Ogayo, Mr. Victor Mukaka and Mr. Peter Nandikove.

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A section of participants following presentations during the workshop


In his opening remarks, Prof. Peter Bukhala noted that research is used in the University to get evidence for the required interventions. “We need to be able to reach patients and clients requiring health interventions. It is in the community that interventions start. This project is among the five (5) studies on COVID-19 that the University has funded and there is a need to document information and cultural practices in the community that influence their use of health care services particularly during the pandemic.,” said Prof. Bukhala.

Speaking during the workshop, Dr. Ochanda pointed out that there is an increase of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and related deaths both globally and in Kenya, adding that the situation became worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The onset of Covid-19 caused fear even among health care workers. With the sudden closure of healthcare facilities, many patients living with NCDs and chronic conditions encountered disruption of health services which is problematic considering they need regular follow-up care. If we have a strong strategy at the community and household level, patients can still be reached even if the healthcare facilities are inaccessible during a pandemic,” said Dr. Ochanda. 

Further, Dr. Ochanda revealed that this study advocates for strengthening community strategy which has been adopted by the Ministry of Health (MoH), where Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) can reach patients even during epidemics. “We have trained 10 research assistants who are qualified nurses working in different healthcare facilities across the County. They will collect data in Lurambi, Butere, Malava and Lugari Sub-counties,” she confirmed.

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Dr. Ochanda discusses a point during the workshop


A global study conducted in 2020 by World Health Organization (WHO) on ‘The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Non-Communicable Disease Resources and Services’ noted that many patients with chronic conditions had disruption of healthcare services during the pandemic. 53% of the countries involved in the research reported partial and complete disruption of services for hypertensive patients, 49% disruption for patients with diabetes and diabetic related complications, 42% for cancer treatment and 31% for cardiovascular emergencies. These were related to cancellation of planned treatment, inaccessibility due to travel restrictions and lockdowns, lack of staff who were reassigned to support COVID-19 services, shortage of medication and diagnostic facilities and closure of outpatient services. 

This Community Strategy Model by Dr. Ochanda will enable the follow-up of patients with NCDs and manage chronic conditions even during this period of COVID-19. The research will empower CHVs and enable them to test conditions such as sugar level, pressure and weight at household level. Certainly, the qualified nurses who have been trained as research assistants, will utilize the skills acquired to address practice gaps and identify workable solutions. 

 By Caren Mutoro Charity Idaya and Wilberforce Shiundu

Photos by Wilberforce Shiundu


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