Kilifi County is set to establish two e-Learning centres following donation of tech materials from the Women in Health and their Economic, Equity and Livelihood statuses during Emergency Preparedness and Response (WHEELER) project with funding from the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The project is a collaboration between Aga Khan University’s Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, East Africa (CoEWCH EA), University of Manitoba’s Institute for Global Public Health, and Kilifi and Mombasa counties.
The materials, received by Kilifi County’s Department of Health Services, include desktops, conference speakers, webcams, television sets, internet connectivity, and backup systems worth approximately KES 600,000 ($4,300). They will be used to communicate data collected from the community levels to the analysis centres, and to connect healthcare professionals in Kenya and beyond. The beneficiary facilities will be the Kilifi County Medical Complex and Vipingo Health Centre.
Like in Mombasa County, the Kilifi e-Learning centres will facilitate capacity building of healthcare workers and community health promoters on research methods, gender related studies and other courses delivered by the Aga Khan University and the University of Manitoba. By having these centres, the study will have facilitated diffusion of knowledge to healthcare workers who may not necessarily participate in on-site trainings.
Hon Peter Mwarogo, Kilifi County Executive for Health and Sanitation Services said, “A lot of time is wasted in the movement of healthcare workers from their workstations to the sites. The equipment we have received today will enable them to work remotely through the virtual platforms. The platforms will also allow knowledge transfer beyond the county and will play a crucial part in our journey towards telemedicine and e-learning. We pledge our support to ensure the successful implementation of this study and are grateful for the commendable support.”
The WHEELER study will examine the differences in how the mental health and socio-economic livelihoods of male and female paid and unpaid healthcare workers were impacted by COVID-19 and the mitigation measures. This will enable them to provide policies and interventions that can be used to build resilient systems to overcome these disparities in future re-occurrence.
“We are delighted to work with Kilifi County’s Department of Health in the Women Rise, IDRC-supported WHEELER project in collecting gendered healthcare information to be better prepared for the next epidemics and contribute to resilient health systems. Most of our projects are based in Kilifi because of the support we receive, and we look forward to strengthening our partnerships with all the six coastal counties as it takes joint effort,” said Prof Marleen Temmerman, Director of CoEWCH EA.
The WHEELER study will build on the efforts towards the realisation of the overall target of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for inclusive human development listed under the third sustainable development goal of good health and wellbeing. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that the delivery of UHC requires healthcare workers with an optimal skills mix at all levels of the health system, who are equitably distributed, adequately supported with access to quality assured products, and enjoying decent work.
“The WHEELER study has provided a platform for the female healthcare providers to share their in-depth experiences during the pandemic. The human-centred design approach is a valuable component of the study that really puts the provider at the centre of the solutions meant to address their challenges in the day-to-day operations,” said Dr Bilali Mazoya, the study’s co-principal investigator from Kilifi County government.
Through the study, the WHEELER team aims to strengthen research capacity within the public health system in Kilifi and Mombasa counties in addition to supporting them in the generation of evidence-based, gender-responsive policy interventions for safeguarding healthcare workers during the current and future health crises.