Exploring key-stakeholder perceptions on non-communicable disease care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya

Pan Afr Med J. 2023 Mar 30:44:153. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2023.44.153.38616. eCollection 2023.


Introduction: over one third of total Disability-Adjusted-Life-Years lost in Kenya are due to non-communicable diseases (NCD). In response, the Government declared significant commitment towards improving NCD care. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the burden on the already overstretched health systems in Kenya. The aims of this study are to assess whether health care providers perceived NCD care to be optimal during the pandemic and explore how to improve responses to future emergencies.

Methods: this cross-sectional online survey included healthcare personnel with non-clinical roles (public health workers and policy-makers) and those delivering health care (doctors and nurses). Respondents were recruited between May and September 2021 by random sampling, completed by snowball sampling.

Results: among 236 participants (42% in clinical, 58% in non-clinical roles) there was an overall consensus between respondents on NCD care being disrupted and compromised during the pandemic in Kenya. Detracted supplies, funding, and technical resources affected the continuity of NCDs' response, despite government efforts. Respondents agreed that the enhanced personnel capacity and competencies to manage COVID-19 patients were positive, but noted a lack of guidance for redirecting care for chronic diseases, and advocated for digital innovation as a solution.

Conclusion: this paper explores the perceptions of key stakeholders involved in the management of NCDs in Kenya to improve planning for future emergency responses. Gaps were identified in health system response and preparedness capacity during the pandemic including the perceived need to strengthen NCD services, with solutions offered to guide resilience efforts to protect the health system from disruption.

Keywords: COVID-19; Non-communicable diseases; SARS-CoV-2; epidemics; health care delivery; health care quality; health personnel; pandemics.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Noncommunicable Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Noncommunicable Diseases* / therapy
  • Pandemics