County Public Health Director, Mr. Fred Oluoch in the company of MCA Hon Steve Awiti during a media brief on Mental health gaps meeting at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu ( photo: Emily Mikwa)
The county has glaring mental health limitations as revealed by the findings of a study on the status of mental health policy, rights, financing and service delivery in Kisumu 2019.
Some of the gaps highlighted included: lack of mental health policy framework, under staffing of mental health practitioners, inadequate financing of mental health services and infrastructure such as beds, a case in example where KCRH only has 30 beds, among others.
This was brought to the attention of the participants during a stakeholders mental health meeting convened by TINADA youth organisation at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel.
The aim of the meeting was to disseminate the research findings and to introduce Imarisha Mental Integrated Initiative project to the stakeholders in Kisumu.
Being cognizant to the facts of the study, the chairperson of budget committee at the County Assembly Hon. Steve Awiti stated that as members of the assembly, they are committed to enact the mental policy framework once the proposal is presented to the Assembly and that in the current financial year they appropriated 1.5million for the same and would not hesitate revising it upward come FY 2021/22 budget. Sentiments echoed by his counter part Hon. Seth Owuor chairing the health committee.
While addressing the media, Public Health Director Mr Fred Oluoch, noted the existence of such gaps and stated that currently the county has brought in additional two psychiatrists from Maseno university to improve the services.
He reiterated that the health public unit is focused on reviewing the policy to capture mental health services and to ensure the formation and operationalize the secretariat and the technical working group.
on infrastructure he promised to have improvements for better service delivery. He however requested for another research on the same post Covid 19 that will give an informed data before implementation of the current findings
In an effort to improve the mental health services, it was resolved that all the partners to pull together in implementing the recommendations in the study.
Since health is a devolved function, it was discussed that the CHWs be roped in to handle the cases at the grass roots not forgetting the non conventional healers such as the herbalists and faith based healers.
The facilitators brought on board included: Beryl Arogo from TINADA, Mr Dancan Omondi TINADA, Mr. Sospeter Mumbo TINADA, and Mr. Jeremiah Okuto County mental health coordinator .
The meeting was graced by participants drawn from different organizations, CBOs, CSOs, and Institutions.
By: Emily Mikwa