Kenya’s emergency medical services needs major work

Access to emergency care can be improved by better delivery at health facilities and the creation of new policies at a national level. Specifically, Kenya needs to recognise emergency services as an integral component of the healthcare system.

 

#WDR2016 World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year – to remember the many millions killed and injured on the world’s roads, together with their families, friends and many others who are also affected. It is also a Day on which we thank the emergency services and reflect on the tremendous burden and cost of this daily continuing disaster to families, communities and countries, and on ways to halt it.

If you DO NOT wear a helmet on your next bodaboda ride

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  • You are 70% more likely to die if you crash compared to if you had worn a helmet
  • You are 50% more likely to break your neck and probably end up paralysed for life compared to if you had worn a helmet

Access to quality emergency services in Kenya

Access to quality emergency services is an essential component of the human right to health, but barriers to emergency care are found throughout Africa and the wider world. Data to support the development of emergency care are essential to improve access to care and further infrastructure development. We undertook this study to understand the community’s emergency care needs and the barriers they face when trying to access care and to engage community members in developing high impact solutions to expand access to essential emergency services.

To accomplish this, we used a qualitative research methodology to conduct 59 focus groups with 528 total Kenyan community member participants. Data were coded, aggregated, and analysed using the content analysis approach. Participants were uniformly selected from all eight of the historical Kenyan provinces (Central, Coast, Eastern, Nairobi, North Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, and Western), with equal rural and urban community representation.

We found that socioeconomic and cultural factors play a major role both in seeking and reaching emergency care. Community members in Kenya experience a wide range of medical emergencies and seem to understand their time-critical nature. They rely on one another for assistance in the face of substantial barriers to care: a lack of a structured system, resources, transportation, trained healthcare providers, and initial care on scene.

The results of this study indicate the need for specific interventions to reduce barriers to access essential emergency services in Kenya. Access to emergency care can be improved by encouraging recognition and initial treatment of emergent illness in the community, strengthening the prehospital care system, improving emergency care delivery at health facilities, nd creating new policies at both county and national levels.