In general, the future is looking bright for mental health in Kenya, as despite the pandemic all three Kamili clinics in Kangemi, Gachie and Lower Kabete have run throughout the year. This was coupled to our moving into the new clinic, which will provide the privacy its patients deserve and an excellent working environment for the staff.
There has been a constant supply of medicine despite the rising number of patients, and we were able to offer consultation services were offered all year. As we reported in the last update, this meant we held a total of 1,785 psychological consultations: One of our consulting doctors: Dr. Hinga, even provided food (unga, beans and rice) to patients during every visit.
Savings and loan scheme to help patients rebuild their lives
Twenty-five patients and carers benefited from the loan scheme, borrowing a total of KES 1,667,745. (£11,207.09). This was used to set up income-generating activities in order to improve their livelihood. These range from establishing sewing, fast food and bead ornament outlets to building houses to rent out. At the close of the year, patients had accumulated a total of KES 2,250,110 (£15,120.53) in savings.
Mental Health: Nurses’ training scheme
This year our nurse scholarship flier was sent out in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK), so we received a record number of applications, including some from the prison service. Out of 136 applicants, were able to offer places to 41 nurses on the Kamili Scholarship, and a total of 32 sponsored scholars finally joined the training scheme, as nine deferred to this year. Classes started virtually in September 2020.
Given the shortfall in applicants we will need to train Community Health Volunteers to bridge the gap, who will assist in early detection of mental health issues and do appropriate referrals.
A government-recognised community mental health curriculum
We have been in discussion with the University of Nairobi and Kenya Medical Training College to submit proposals of how we can develop a Community Mental Health curriculum for Community Health Workers, and expect to have the first CHWs in training by September 2021.
So all in all, we are moving forward in treating mentally-ill patients in Kenya