Brenda Osieyo, a young Kenyan doctor, completed her GP training in August 2019 and successfully joined a Practice in Whitstable to serve the community as a general practitioner.
I asked Brenda what the experience has been like for her, as a young professional in the frontlines. “The pandemic dramatically changed how we work. We found ourselves in the frontline as primary care givers and learning a lot on our feet. Other diseases have robust evidence-based guidelines, experts and strong knowledge base. But COVID-19 is novel to all. It has been a constant learning curve. We are all learning and have to work through it together”.
In anticipation of the rise in number of patients with COVID-19, the practice adapted its working model to focus on providing care for those with possible COVID. To achieve this, it temporarily suspended non-essential services both at the practice as well as hospital level, and introduced multiple points to screen patients. The service was also reorganised to hot and cold sites to enable access of care for those with other illnesses and long term conditions who needed face-to-face appointments whilst minimising infection transmission. Brenda and her colleagues also had to quickly adapt to an accelerated digitalisation of healthcare which now includes video and online consultation.
For Brenda, the experience has been far from anything she was ever taught or experienced in the past. In addition to the new way of providing care, there were issues such as navigating how to work with limited PPE, dealing with psychological aspects including coping with anxiety associated with frontline work, risk to own health (and family).
This experience has brought with it a sense of greater responsibility, as Brenda and her colleagues learned to make choices with regards to safe and equitable delivery of services, kept abreast of the guidance that was regularly provided by PHE, WHO and the government.
In spite the challenges and the toll from this experience, Brenda is motivated to continue because of the invaluable skills that she has, which she can use to contribute in a direct and beneficial way to the community, both in this pandemic and beyond – “It is hard work, but it is rewarding and worthwhile”. She is certain that she will come out of this much stronger. She has learned to be more flexible and adaptable to keep up with the fluid situation. She believes this experience will influence how medicine transforms in the future.
We know many Kenyans are affected by COVID-19.
We wish all those who are undergoing treatment, speedy recovery, and offer encouragement and support to those who are caring for sick loved ones.
We also remember all those who have lost their lives to COVID19. Our thoughts are with the families and friends at this difficult time.
Tujijenge Pamoja Network (TPN), is a cross country joint effort of over 200 diverse Kenya diaspora led organizations and groups in the UK. TPN seeks to form innovative partnership across the entire Kenyan Diaspora, that are supportive and empowering
IT’S YOUR STORY
We will continue to share stories from other Kenyans in NHS and all other frontline areas in the fight against COVID-19. We must support our NHS and other frontline workers and heed to the government advise to stay ALERT. Let us continue to encourage and support each other during these trying times. We are all in this together, and together we will overcome!!! If you have a story you would like us to include in our next newsletter, please share it.
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Compiled by Kenya Healthcare C19 Support Group
KHC-C19 Support Group
Dr Sarah Onyango
Tujijenge Pamoja Network
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