Receiving and Responding to Community Feedback During Health System Crises: Lessons from Early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic Response in Kilifi County
Health system responsiveness, defined as how the health system reacts to input from the public or citizens is one of the goals of the health system alongside fairness in financing and health service outcomes. Listening to and responding to public inputs and feedback can lead to a health system that is stronger and fairer to all segments of the population, where policy and practice is more appropriate for and accessible to citizens. Responsiveness is closely tied to the broader idea of citizen, public, or community participation in health systems. However, responsiveness is likely to be undermined, especially for vulnerable and marginal populations in periods of unexpected shocks and crises to the health system such as disease outbreaks or health worker strikes. In the current COVID-19 crisis, there has been more focus globally on health system control interventions; with minimal consideration of community views about these interventions. In this brief, we report early findings on health system responsiveness to community feedback in implementation of the COVID-19 crisis response in Kilifi County, drawing on publicly available national and county level documents, press briefings, in-depth interviews and observations of County Health Management Team (CHMT) COVID-19 briefings in the Kilifi learning site. We consider what community engagement and citizens feedback channels were utilised, what concerns were raised by the public, how they were handled by health system actors and highlight lessons learned.