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App to help practitioners get timely medical care after accidental exposure to patients’ body fluids

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Lack of adequate infrastructure and equipment is one of the major challenges health workers are facing. Lack of aftercare systems, among others; leave them exposed to cross contamination risks. Exposure in medical facilities may result from contaminated needle sticks through accidental pricks or from surgical blades and blood splashes from patients. HIV is one of the infections which health care givers are at risk of acquiring and once infected.

As a way to control this, a platform by the name Care for Carers (C4C) has been employed by the Ministry of Health. The platform makes it possible for practitioners to get timely medical care after accidental exposure to patients’ body fluids or blood which could be HIV-contaminated.

Through the application, health workers can easily access attention to prevent HIV infection through post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) drugs, which lower the infection risk by over 80%.

For effective action, PEP drugs should be taken within three days from time of exposure. The dose then continues for 28 days.  The drugs work by attacking and killing the viruses before they can cause HIV after multiplication.

“So the time PEP is initiated, and the completion of the recommended dose is of great importance. And this new platform will help us with that,” head of the National Aids and STI Control Programme (Nascop), Dr. Martian Sirengo said.

Health workers are, therefore, required to log into the C4C platform and register. Registration records crucial information such as personal, employment and demographic data.

“All health workers exposed to HIV while undertaking their duties are advised to report the incidence swiftly using the C4C app,” program manager for prevention and control of infections, Japheth Gatuku said. The system then provides detailed procedural advice based the MOH guidelines to the users. The application also sends follow-up messages encouraging and advising the practitioners to adhere to the requirements as well as providing information on the side effects associated with the drugs.

After the dose is complete, the workers need to go for HIV tests twice, with each taking place after three months. Should both tests be negative, then the practitioner is confirmed to be HIV negative.

The platform allows both county and national governments to monitor real time data on incidents of HIV exposure in facilities across the country. Data also has information on the causes as well as the departments where the most exposure exists. Such information is crucial in making policies on safety in hospitals, thus making safer working environments.

Developed by M-health and Nascop, the innovation is already in use in counties such as Kisumu, Turkana, Meru, Embu and Murang’a

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Melissa Daniels
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KENYA