KENYA – Kenya has commenced construction of an ultra-modern mental health center of excellence named Kenya International Mental Wellness Hospital to help people facing mental distress to access professional services for person-centered care and effective recovery.
Kenya recently entered into a public-private partnership for the construction of an advanced mental health hospital in Ngong, Kajiado County and under the deal, Italian firm San Raffaele Research Hospital will offer consultancy services, development and delivery of the wellness facility
President Uhuru Kenyatta presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the new health facility accompanied by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku and Italian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Luigi Di Maio.
The international mental wellness provider will be integrated into the National Hospital Insurance Fund to boost access to affordable quality mental health care for all Kenyans in line with the government’s efforts to scale up investment in Universal Health Coverage
Head of State Uhuru Kenyatta reaffirmed that upon completion of the hospital, the establishment would collaborate with regional and global centres of excellence to ensure Kenyans receive the highest standards of mental health services including diagnostics and advanced treatments.
The international mental wellness provider will be integrated into the National Hospital Insurance Fund to boost access to affordable quality mental health care for all Kenyans in line with the government’s efforts to scale up investment in Universal Health Coverage, according to the Ministry of Health.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Health is operationalizing a mental health call center with the goal of improving access to mental health services for all Kenyans along with building human resource capacity for mental health through the recruitment and deployment of 146 psychologists to the 47 counties.
President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed that the state constituted a special task force on mental health to study the status of mental health in the country that specified key mental health issues of concern to Kenyans and recommend transformative solutions to reform the country’s mental health systems.
He further said that the Kenyan Government has plans underway to introduce a mental health information system to collect and manage data on Mental Health in Kenya which will form a platform on which Kenya’s future mental health policies and investments in mental healthcare will be anchored.
“The ultramodern facility is expected to bring a paradigm shift in the existing negative narratives and attitudes associated with mental illness. It is only right that people freely seek mental health services without fear or shame and this facility will provide that environment,” Uhuru stressed.
President Uhuru urged Kenyans to join in concerted global action to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness by actively supporting those in mental distress, adding that people facing mental health challenges deserve to be helped and understood as it is a disease like any other.
Uhuru Kenyatta further emphasized on the significant need for regular therapy and mental health check-ups for proper physical health while encouraging every Kenyan suffering from mental health challenges to seek assistance from the expanding network of facilities and services.
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