KENYA – Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has said the government is investing in regional and national healthcare systems that will enable easy and fast access to quality care at the local level.

Speaking at the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital (KUTRRH) during the reception of officials from Gruppo San Donato, the CS said the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to light global disparities in healthcare systems and exposed the fragility of public healthcare systems in even the most powerful of nations.

The CS cited mental health as having significant social and economic implications in terms of population well-being and productivity terming it a public health priority that requires key strategic intervention for the attainment of the country’s social, health and economic targets.

The ravages of the pandemic have opened our eyes to the opportunities that will exist in a post-pandemic world.  I urge all stakeholders to join us in exploring ways in which we can increase our capacity for response to mental health service delivery challenges,” said the CS.

He said mental illnesses are a significant cause of ill-health, with an estimated 25% of outpatient and up to 40% of in-patient health facility visits having diagnosable, mental health conditions.

The progressive efforts are meant to build on the Kenya Mental Health Policy that was launched in May 2016 to ensure significant reduction in the overall ill health in Kenya in line with the country’s Vision 2030 and the Constitution of Kenya.

In 2020, it was estimated that one in every 10 people suffer from a common mental disorder. The number increases to one in every four people among patients attending routine outpatient services.

Depression and anxiety disorders are the leading mental illnesses diagnosed in Kenya, followed by substance use disorders

The officials from Gruppo San Donato, an Italian hospital group and a pioneer in multiple research fields, are visiting Kenya for the first time as part of a series of meetings aimed at exploring areas of collaboration with the Kenyan government.

In the past 24 hours, Kenya recorded 692 new Covid-19 infections raising the national tally to 191,712. There were 8 news deaths recorded and 123 recoveries. The country has so far reported 3,754 fatalities and 180,543 total recoveries.