Kenya has launched a strategic plan that is billed to see more resources committed to take care of rising mental health patients across the country.
The Kenya Mental Health Action Plan 2021-2025 seeks to onboard all persons with mental health conditions in the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to take care of their out-patient and in-patient treatment costs.
Equally, the NHIF cover will be used to meet substance use rehabilitation costs while also providing essential health benefits for comprehensive mental health services.
The strategic programme provides the framework for the country’s mental health transformational journey over the next five years.
In the plan, national and county governments shall be expected to dedicate resources towards the establishment of user-friendly mental health infrastructure and amenities.
The funds will ensure consistent supply of essential and high-quality medicine, equipment, and technologies, including ICT-based services hardware at the community and primary care centres.
The five-year plan also calls for the set-up of a commission for mental health and happiness while also establishing the directorate of mental health and substance use at the Ministry of Health.
“For us to achieve this dream, we must put concerted efforts and investment in implementing strategic actions and targets as set out in the plan,” said Chief Administrative Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr Mercy Mwangangi during the launch on Wednesday, June 9.
The plan counts on collaboration with stakeholders to implement the mental health policy and taskforce recommendations through strategic actions with specified targets and indicators.
The plan’s objectives include; strengthening effective leadership and governance in mental health, implementing programs meant to promote mental health, ensuring access to comprehensive, integrated, and high-quality mental health services at all levels, and strengthening mental health systems.
“To achieve these objectives, the county governments are expected to play a critical role as most health services and programs remain devolved functions. The implementation will also call for multi-sectoral partnerships and collaboration between various ministries, state departments, and agencies,” added Dr Mwangangi.
“The implementation will also call for multi-sectoral partnerships and collaboration between various ministries, state departments, and agencies,”Chief Administrative Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr Mercy Mwangangi
The CAS said the plan will also decentralize mental health services and programs to primary health care at the community level, and its implementation will be guided by evidence-based interventions, inclusivity, equity, human rights, multisector and life-course approaches.
In 2019, the government set up a mental task force whose findings established that one in every 10 people in Kenya suffers from a mental disorder, a condition that has been exacerbated by prevalence of the pandemic.