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Bridging gaps: a qualitative inquiry on improving paediatric rheumatology care among healthcare workers in Kenya

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Helen Foster



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023, The Author(s).Background: Due to the paucity of paediatric rheumatologists in Kenya, it is paramount that we explore strategies to bridge clinical care gaps for paediatric rheumatology patients in order to promote early diagnosis, prompt referral, and optimal management. Purpose: To identify proposed interventions which can improve the ability of non-specialist healthcare workers to care for paediatric rheumatology patients across Kenya. Methods: We conducted 12 focus group discussions with clinical officers (community physician assistants), nurses, general practitioners and paediatricians across six regions in Kenya. Interviews were conducted, audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using MAXQDA 2022.2 software. Results: A total of 68 individuals participated in the study; 11 clinical officers, 12 nurses, 10 general practitioners, 27 paediatricians and eight other healthcare workers. Proposed patient interventions included patient education and psychosocial support. Community interventions were outreach awareness campaigns, mobilising financial support for patients’ care, mobilising patients to access diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Healthcare worker interventions include diagnostic, management, and referral guidelines, as well as research and educational interventions related to symptom identification, therapeutic strategies, and effective patient communication skills. In addition, it was highlighted that healthcare systems should be bolstered to improve insurance coverage and access to integrated multi-disciplinary clinical care. Conclusions: Study participants were able to identify potential initiatives to improve paediatric rheumatology care in Kenya. Additional efforts are underway to design, implement and monitor the impact of some of these potential interventions,

Publication metadata

Author(s): Migowa A, Bernatsky S, Ngugi AK, Foster HE, Muriuki P, Riang'a RM, Luchters S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pediatric Rheumatology

Year: 2023

Volume: 21

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 13/12/2023

Acceptance date: 20/11/2023

Date deposited: 06/02/2024

ISSN (electronic): 1546-0096

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/s12969-023-00935-3

PubMed id: 38093255


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Funder referenceFunder name
the University Research Council Grant Fund from the Aga Khan University