Main topic : One Health
Application of Digital Communication Tools for Pandemic Preparedness and Response: Frontline Workers Training in Kenya
WANJOHI S. 1, KERE P. 2, YEGO F. 2, NYAMEINO J. 2, KIMELI P. 3, NGUGI P. 2, MUTA D. 1
1 Africa One Health University Network (AFROHUN) Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya; 2 Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya; 3 University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
One month after Kenya confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020, several strategies, including social distancing and movement restrictions, were implemented to curb the rising number of cases and deaths (1). However, contact tracing and implementation of quarantine measures were observed to have posed a challenge. The One Health approach recognizes that the health of humans, animals, and the environment are interdependent and that promoting optimal health in any of these sectors requires cross-sectoral collaboration and communication (2). Africa One Health University Network (AFROHUN) Kenya sought to make contributions towards actualization of this learning.
Within the year 2020, AFROHUN Kenya, with support from the USAID-funded One Health Workforce Next Generation (OHW-NG) initiative, undertook a training needs assessment among frontline workers in Kenya (3). During the assessment, a frontline worker was defined as “an individual who directly contributes to protecting and improving health in the community using the One Health approach”. Communication, specifically the use of digital technologies, was among the gaps identified. The findings and gaps were validated at a stakeholder workshop. A short course was developed to address the gaps, with a module on digital communication tools and applications, administered online in 2022 over five days, on a pilot basis. This training was noted to be in line with the World Health Organization Global strategy on digital health 2020-2025 (4).
Kenya Veterinary Board, Environment Institute of Kenya and the Public Health Officers and Technicians Council (Kenya) accredited the training for the award of continuous professional development points. Over 80 multidisciplinary frontline workers and final-year students participated daily. Asynchronous and synchronous learning approaches were utilized, including ‘all teach, and all learn’ borrowed from the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) model (5). There were didactic presentations, case studies, and reference materials provided to participants. In a pre-training evaluation, 83% of the participants indicated awareness of One Health, 92% had never undertaken any course on digital communications and another 88% were not aware of digital health applications. In the summative evaluation, 100% of the respondents (n=83) reported an improved understanding of digital communications and applications for preparedness and response to emergencies of public health concern.
There was insufficient knowledge of digital communication tools and applications among frontline workers at baseline. The training addressed the existing knowledge gaps in digital communication tools and applications. The training further elicited great interest and participation among frontline workers. There is a need to identify opportunities to further determine the application of knowledge gained and address existing training needs among frontline workers in Kenya.
Source of funding
The presentation is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of One Health Workforce implementing partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.