The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to pose different challenges and as Kenya braces for its impact with the rate of infection rising, thousands of people across the country are being required to physically isolate.
The mandatory quarantine guidelines being issued as part of government measures to contain the spread of the highly infectious virus are welcome but there are concerns over increasing mental health issues with most people finding themselves in unfamiliar territory separated from their loved ones.
For most people, the outbreak has changed the way they work, socialize, travel, exercise, shop – basically, the way they live. The extensive news coverage on the pandemic has also caused uncertainty, leaving many people feeling anxious, scared, and depressed.
Further to this, restriction of movement of people being implemented by the Government in a bid to minimize the spread of the disease has also impacted people’s lifestyles, increasing the instances of child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, and other psychological problems.
Mitigating these effects of restricted movements, quarantine, and isolation measures requires a concerted effort from healthcare professionals, policymakers, public & private entities.
In view of this, Absa Bank Kenya PLC has partnered with health insurance provider Minet Kenya Insurance Brokers to provide psychosocial support to affected Kenyans through a care line dubbed the Covid-19 Wellness Care Line.
This program will initially be rolled out to those in quarantine facilities, isolation centers, families, and health care workers. We are also working with the Ministry of Health who has been hard in their efforts towards containing and eliminating the virus.
Through the Ministry, we will proactively reach out to Kenyans in designated quarantine facilities and offer them the counseling support that they may need. This program will eventually be extended to anybody facing stressful moments occasioned by the numerous measures instituted to contain the virus.
“During these difficult times, Kenyans need access to additional help in order to cope with the mental and emotional distress of the pandemic, especially those in vulnerable and stressful situations. Our partnership with Minet will enable us to connect those who need psychosocial support with experts who will walk through this journey with them and their loved ones. We are going through a tough time as a country, and as Absa, we remain committed to being an active force for good in the communities that we operate in, and we are working with like-minded organizations like Minet to help those affected get through the current situation.” says Absa Bank Kenya Managing Director Jeremy Awori.
Minet Kenya Chief Executive Officer Sammy Muthui said that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique mental, physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual wellness challenge to those infected and affected. “Minet’s partnership with Absa is our way of giving, in the fight against this global scourge and we hope to collectively bring a positive change in the lives of those infected and affected. Minet already has the infrastructure in place based on the wellness programs that we currently run for various organizations,” Mr. Muthui said.
“We recognize that this is a challenging time and we encourage anybody who is experiencing psychological distress to reach out to us through *202*04# and our counselors will provide the support that you may require. Kenyans are resilient people, always finding ways to overcome challenges and we have no doubt that, though the current situation seems difficult, we shall prevail.”