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30, 000 youth ready for rehab

The Dorcas Rigathi Foundation has identified over 30, 000 youth in the country who have registered to start rehabilitation from drug addiction.

The identified youth, the majority being boys and young men, are on a waiting list as the Foundation is ready to graduate at least 1200 who were placed on rehab last year and have reformed.

Those graduating were among the 4500 placed in rehab centers across the country by the Foundation last year who were identified and registered during medical camps.

Pastor Dr. Dorcas Rigathi, who is the Patron of the Foundation has called for the establishment of more rehab centres to accommodate the increasing number of youth seeking to transform their lives from drug addiction.

Speaking in Kakamega during her tour of the County, Pastor Dorcas said the Foundation would outlive her current position as the office holder of the spouse of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to continue rescuing the boy child, supporting widows and People with Disabilities in the society.

She said the foundation conducts medical camps to identify levels of alcoholic, drug, and substance abuse in the targeted youth before choosing the type of support to be offered.

Those with high levels of drug addiction are taken to rehab centres, while those whose levels could easily be managed were placed under community rehab services.

According to Pastor Dorcas, in the Community Rehab services, the youth take part in an enrichment programme that includes participation in the ‘Kandanda Afya’ with doctors and psychologists in place to offer counselling and take them through mentorship classes.

Those listed in the rehab centres undergo thorough medication and counselling sessions to get rid of the addiction.

“Those who start engaging in drug and substance abuse do it jokingly and as a pastime, but later they become addicted, and it also affects their mental health,” she noted.

She explained that in the rehab centres, the boys undergo treatment and therapy sessions with medics, psychologists, therapists, and pastors who examine them.

Pastor Dorcas noted that they relied on partners and people of good will who donated to support screening services and the provision of funds to pay for rehabilitation and training the reformed to acquire skills.

She noted that the cost of rehab services is too high, where a person spends between Sh30, 000 to Sh45, 000 per month, noting that it is not affordable to those who may need to reform.

“Some stay for almost six to seven months in the rehab centres, which increases the cost of the service. Those who inject themselves with drugs take about two years in rehab centres to get well and back to normal,” she pointed out.

Pastor Dorcas asked the government to also introduce the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) services in rehab centres so that Kenyans could use the fund to pay for rehab services.

“We welcome those who may want to adopt children whom we have screened and pay for their rehabilitation or pay for them to undertake a skill at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres so that they can acquire necessary skills that will enable them to get jobs,” she added.

She said the foundation is recording a 90 per cent success rate for the rehab programme, with the majority of those placed in the programme graduating as reformed with technical skills.

She said they normally faced challenges during the first days of the rehab, where they developed a strong urge to fall back due to withdrawal symptoms.

Due to the gravity of drug addiction, Pastor Dorcas has asked those pushing for recognition of busaa, muratina, and other traditional brews to proceed with caution to ensure the safety of consumers of the drinks.

“In the past, people were brewing traditional brews, but you could rarely hear people dying or becoming blind after consuming traditional brews. At this time, those who make the brews are people who do not care about people’s lives. The challenge is how we can continue with these cultures and ensure the brews are legal and safe for consumption. We need to have laws that will protect the youth and people who consume traditional brews,” she noted.

Pastor Dorcas noted that through the rehabilitation, some have been taken to school, some have gone to university, and some have resumed their jobs after being accepted.

“Currently, we have about 26 youth who have graduated from the rehab centres and acquired technical skills; we want to take them to work at the Affordable Housing Programme (AHP). In Bomet, we have a group that has started to raise tree seedlings to get funds,” she added.

By Moses Wekesa

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