Report on the Webinar on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response in Kenya; “Experience Sharing by the National Level and the Counties”

JLN Network Manager

Report on the Webinar on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response in Kenya; “Experience Sharing by the National Level and the Counties”

Date: Friday, May 15th 2020


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is facing an unprecedented economic and health crisis. Since its first confirmed COVID-19 case, Government has since given directives and instituted measures to contain the spread of the virus and prevent infections including restricted movement to and from places that have recorded significant numbers of infection; stay-at-home directive; 7pm to 5am curfew; and various public health measures such as mandatory wearing of masks in public, social distances, hand washing and sanitising campaigns. Majority (85.9%) of the confirmed 2% were asymptomatic. Currently all the infected are being isolated and managed from designated health facilities across the country with the suspected cases quarantined at designated locations with testing on day 14.

Country Statistics as of May 14:

First case: March 12, 2020

Counties affected: 22

Lab samples tested: 36,918

Confirmed cases: 758

Recoveries: 284 (33%)

Deaths: 42 (CDR 5.5%)

On 15th May 2020, the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN) Kenya partnered with the National AIDS and STI’s Control Programme (NASCOP) under the Ministry of Health to host its first virtual experience sharing forum “COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Experience Sharing from the National and Counties”. The participants were policy makers and practitioners drawn from the National Government, County Government, and partners working in health. Kenya has 47 county governments with devolved health function where service delivery is at the county level. This aim of this forum was to provide an opportunity to share how the counties are managing the COVID-19 response, receive an update from the National government on their efforts, and provide an opportunity to receive feedback from the counties.
The session was Moderated by the JLN Country Core Group chair Dr Isabella Maina with two guest speakers.
Dr Joel Gondi, Technical advisor at the Director General’s office shared the country profile, the status of COVID-19 Cases in the light of the global statistics, the distribution of the cases by county and by specific health facilities. He highlighted the Government’s efforts in the response in terms of testing and the strategies in place for control of the spread of the virus. Dr Gondi shared the strengths of the strategies in terms of preparedness and response, the challenges and lessons learnt this far. He concluded by sharing the best practices that have been instrumental in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Anisa Omar, County Executive Committee Member for Health in Kilifi County shared her county’s response and the following key lessons:

  • Defined a clear structure for managing the response within the county.
  • Partnerships – e.g. with KEMRI and National Laboratory Services for testing; PPP for donation of PPE; KEMRI and Pwani University for health worker training.
  • Mobilized resources – emergency fund, philanthropy and donations.
  • Advocacy and social mobilization.
  • Ensuring health systems resilience to guard against impact to other essential services.
  • Use of technology to assist in monitoring of cases and tracking and tracing of contacts.
  • Education and facilitation of public health prevention practices – mounting hand washing equipment, supply if home-made masks and fumigation of public places.
  • Establishing of quarantine and isolation centres
  • Active surveillance and contact tracing with the help of neighbour group initiatives
  • Targeted mass testing for exposed groups -health workers, police, public service workers, journalists and truckers.
  • Roadblocks and screening for containment.
  • As the county mounts a coordinated response persistent challenges remain on adequacy of resources including finances, test kits and PPEs that will continue sustained efforts to keep up the momentum and push back the virus.


The issues of sustainability of the efforts was a great concern hence the proposal to consider the community health strategy and home-based care. There was emphasis on the need to embrace technology. The session concluded with an urgent appeal to the Ministry to focus on Universal Health Coverage even at this time so as to strengthen the health system to deliver all needed health services and cope with any upcoming challenges. Participants found the session very useful and expressed the need for more sessions. JLN Kenya plans to have fortnight experience sharing on different topics with updates from the Government.

Annex: Presentation by Dr. Amoth Patrick, Director General of the Kenyan Ministry of Health