A task force constituted to assess mental health systems and mental wellbeing of Kenyans Wednesday recommended that the government introduces mental health services in local hospitals for ease of access.
Mental Health Task force Chairman Dr. Franklin Njenga said that mental health services are mostly offered in advanced hospitals such as Mathare Mental Hospital, insisting that mental health is slowly becoming a major issue and as such the services should be extended to local hospitals.
“This country elevated the HIV/AIDS condition to national disaster, similarly we have the opportunity to make mental illness a national disaster, Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) needs to ensure that medicine of good standards without side effects are delivered in pharmacies,” said Njenga during their meeting at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi.
Njenga proposed that mental health training should also be introduced in the new curriculum stating that religious institutions should collaborate with professionals in the health sector to help in the implementation of proposals of the task force.
He further noted that the task force has already covered 20 counties out of the 47 as instructed by the government and have received about 140 memoranda on possible recommendations.
National Council for Persons with Disability (NCPWD) Executive Officer, Mr. Alex Munyeri decried the fact that the research on mental health is carried out by the office of the Attorney General suggesting that it should be done by the National Council or the Ministry of health.
He added that most people with disabilities are faced with mental health issues with their parents getting traumatized especially when they bear children with such disabilities.
A medical social worker from Mathare Hospital expressed concern that the country only has 920 registered mental health nurses who prefer to work in more developed cities leading to shortage of nurses in rural areas. She said that the government should deploy nurses to rural areas to propel this program.
The task force is expected to assess the mental health systems including the legal, policy and administrative environment to identify areas that may benefit from reform, for optimal delivery.
In attendance were Dr. Halima Mwenesi and Prof. Atwoli Lukoye, members of the mental health task force which was mandated by the government on December 11, 2019 to investigate about mental health and give back a report by 24th February this year.
By KNA team