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Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe watch as a mentally ill inmate gets a COVID-19 vaccination at the Mathari Mental Hospital in Nairobi on October 5, 2021.

Kenya

Health, Interior ministries partner to improve mental health care at Mathari Hospital

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 -The Ministries of Health and Interior have partnered to improve facilities and services at the Mathari Hospital, the only referral institution specializing in mental health and psychiatry training in Kenya.

Interior CS Fred Matiangi and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe said the partnership will help improve services at the facility that hosts a Maximum Security Unit for mentally ill offenders.
Mathari is the only referral institution specializing in mental health and psychiatry training in Kenya.
“This investment will go along way in providing quality mental health. With 100% of mentally ill offenders already vaccinated, the hospital continues to offer vaccination to the elderly, teachers, security personnel and other priority staff,” Matiangi said.
Matiangi and Kagwe were at the mental health facility Tuesday where they oversaw the vaccination of mentally ill patients, the elderly and other priority staff at the facility against COVID-19.

By October 4, Kenya had recorded 5,141 COVID-19 fatalities while the number of people who had recovered from the virus stood at 242,857.

Over 3.8 million people had been vaccinated, among them 930,740 who were fully vaccinated.

Public health officials said the COVID-19 pandemic has increased inequalities in human development, including contributing to the increase in mental health and related disorders.

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses in the country with half of people who go to general hospitals for any reason found to be suffering from the illness, many without their knowledge.

In 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta recognized mental illness as a crisis in the country and formed a task force on mental health which recommended that Mathari Hospital be refurbished, among other recommendations.

While health is complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of diseases, mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and make a contribution to the community, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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