By Samuel Ouma
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, November 12, 2020, ordered for the establishment of an ultra-modern national mental health hospital to address the surging cases of mental illness in the country.
The spiking cases of mental diseases have been attributed to Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking during the State of Nation Address from the National Assembly, the Head of State noted the centre would offer training and research and psychiatry, specialist psychiatry treatment, Child and adolescence mental wellness, drug abuse and addictive disorder treatment as well as rehabilitation services.
East Africa Primer Mental Health will be the name of the facility, according to President Kenyatta.
“I shall be looking at this house (National Assembly) to support the funding of this facility,” reiterated Kenyatta.
At the same time, Kenyatta directed the elevation of Nairobi’s Mathare National Teaching and Referral hospital as a semi-autonomous specialized hospital.
The coronavirus has caused a substantive negative impact on the health and socio-economic structures in the country since the first case was reported on March 13.
As of Thursday, the country’s caseload was 66, 723 with 1,203 fatalities and over 43,000 recoveries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports show that public mental health impact has been in the form of stress and anxiety and projected a rise in depression, substance use and suicide in future.
Isolation, loss of income, the deaths of loved ones and a barrage of information on the dangers of this new virus can stir up stress levels and trigger mental health conditions or exacerbate existing ones,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.