Health ministry launches Kenya Mental Health Action Plan

Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi during the launch of Kenya Mental Health Action Plan in Nairobi on June 9, 2021/ MOH

The Health ministry on Wednesday launched the Kenya Mental Health Action Plan.

The Kenya Mental Health Action Plan 2021-2025, provides the framework for the country’s mental health transformational journey over the next five years.

“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,” CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi, who represented CS Mutahi Kagwe, said.

Dr Mwangangi said mental health remains an integral pillar in Kenya’s health system and social-economic development, and President Uhuru Kenyatta has made it a key government agenda, committing to invest and implement activities towards uplifting the mental health and wellbeing of all Kenyans.

The action plan will provide a framework for national and county governments as well as stakeholders to implement the Mental Health Policy and Taskforce recommendations through strategic actions with specified targets and indicators.

The plan seeks to strengthen effective leadership and governance in mental health; implement programmes meant to promote mental health; ensure access to comprehensive, integrated and high-quality mental health services at all levels and strengthen mental health systems.

Mental Health Task force chairman Dr Frank Njenga, Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi and guests during the launch of the action plan in Nairobi on June 9, 2021/ MOH

Dr. Mwangangi said to achieve the objectives, the county governments are expected to play a critical role as most health services and programmes have been devolved.

The implementation will also call for multi-sectoral partnerships and collaboration between various Ministries, State Departments and Agencies

The plan seeks to decentralize mental health services and programmes to primary healthcare at the community level. Its implementation will be guided by evidence-based interventions, inclusivity, equity, human rights, multisectoral and life course approaches.

To ensure inclusivity, people with lived experiences, caregivers and their organisations will participate in the design, implementation and evaluation of the plan’s set programmes.

Some of the activities will include enhancing mental health literacy, addressing the determinants of mental health and reduction of risk factors. Other strategic actions are geared towards reorganising, transforming and increasing coverage of services. This will be achieved by establishing affordable services closer to communities, ensuring comprehensive quality care and developing person centred services.

Through the plan, mental health and psychosocial support will be integrated in the emergency and humanitarian response especially in the response to Covid-19 pandemic as well as the long-term recovery strategy.

Mental health to form part of primary healthcare framework

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