Mental health is a major public health priority with significant social and economic implications in terms of population well-being and productivity. Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe noted this on Monday, July 19 during a site visit of the Chiromo Hospital Group in Nairobi.
The Chiromo Hospital Group is a premier level 5 private mental health facility in sub saharan Africa that offers in and outpatient specialised treatment committed to promoting holistic mental wellness, prevention of mental illnesses and management of mental illnesses when they occur.
Kagwe noted that mental health conditions remain a silent epidemic because of stigma, discrimination, reduced access to treatment and psychosocial support thus the need to seek partnerships in research and development as well as in implementation of health interventions.
“Through the Kenya Mental Health Action Plan 2021-2025, the National Government working with County Governments and its stakeholders, seeks to strengthen effective leadership and governance for mental health; to implement programmes for promotion of mental health and prevention of mental and substance use conditions; to ensure access to comprehensive, integrated and high quality mental health services at all levels and strengthen mental health systems,” he added on to say.
He underscored the importance of partnerships with investors both local and international, who will provide a rich resource in capacity building, research and development as well as in infrastructure development.
On his part, Presidential Advisor on Mental Health, Dr. Frank Njenga, noted that the Chiromo Hospital Group is the psychiatric institution of choice that has put in place facilities that give its patients a dignified stay considering that mental health facilities are often frowned upon as being dark and without oxygen.
“We decided that we will give dignity back to people who have mental health needs. The second component was the need to emphasize the importance of training and partnership. To that end we are already training in the advanced diploma in mental health in collaboration with AMREF International University,” noted an elated Dr. Njenga.
Hon. Kagwe’s visit to Chiromo Hospital Group comes immediately after President Uhuru Kenyatta witnessed the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Health and Italian Health firm Gruppo San Donato (GSD) on advancing mental health in Kenya, at State House Nairobi.