The Kisumu call centre is one of the interventions set up for the fight against the covid-19 in the county and Kenya at large.
The covid-19 rapid response call centre with a tall free number 0800720575 was launched on the 6th of May this year and has been in operation for the last 3 weeks. On average the centre receives 230 daily calls from within Kisumu County and all over the country.
Kisumu County set up the virtual call centre helpline in partnership with Maseno University and to assist in surveillance against the pandemic. The Toll free line is aimed at enhancing service uptake during the COVID -19 pandemic. The centre operates 24/7 with 6 operators who are medical students, IT literate and are trained on online data collection.
Sitting inside a quiet room, a group of pleasant-looking young medical student is talking into their phones, engaging callers and at the same time keying in information on their desktop computers. Their callers, however, are rather far away. Nothing is left to chance as callers are responded to in a suitable off-the-cuff reply.
The operators key bio data of all callers, the reason of the call and the summary of action taken on reported cases on the data collection chart. The centre receives COVID-19 related cases as well as other unrelated and general calls from the public. “The centre is a toll free service and any one can call without charges on the caller.” Said call centre manager, Mr. Jeremiah Ongwara
“We conceal that caller’s identity and in the case that the caller request for anonymity we ensure non disclosure of the caller’s identity.” Mr. Jeremiah Ongwara concedes.
Mr. Ongwara who is also the call center manager said the operators are medical students who can respond and dispense medical consultation on many cases without referring to the manager for action.
The County Director for public health and sanitation, Mr. Fred Oluoch paid a courtesy call to the centre located in a smart open plan office on the ground floor of the Maseno University, town campus. The Director urged residents to make use of the call centre by calling the toll free number 0800720575, adding that this will contribute to the surveillance and containment of the pandemic in Kisumu.
Mr. Oluoch commended the team of operators saying, “The dedicated operators are doing magnificent work supporting with surveillance to ensure containment and prevention of the corona virus in the county.
The details of the calls are classified by case definition, response measures, data collection and analysis of the report.
The call centre helpline is designed as an intervention mechanism against COVID-19 and has also helped in providing general medical advice ranging from pregnant mothers, to flood victims and other emergencies.
“To date, our dedicated call centre operators have dealt with 5300 inquiries in response to CALL INS.” Said Director Oluoch.
By Matilda Atieno