Senator Kasanga to introduce a bill to back Uhuru’s task force on mental health
Nominated Senator Sylvia Kasanga has emphasized the need to develop a comprehensive policy on mental health.
Speaking after meeting the task force on mental health in Nairobi yesterday, Kasanga explained the need to upscale the conversation on the health menace.
President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the Ministry of Health to form the task force last year to look into mental issues affecting Kenyans
“ I am hopeful that after meeting various delegations countrywide, the task force will come with strong recommendations that will help us address this huge challenge”, she said.
Also, Kasanga expressed the need to have mental health integrated and be part of primary Healthcare saying it will help to diagnose the problem at an early stage.
Alarmingly, mental health statistics indicate that one in every four Kenyan suffers from mental illness at one point of their life.
The number of people seeking counseling services has also been low due to stigmatization caused to mental health patients.
Further, the legislator took a swipe at the government for neglecting mental hospitals.
Negligence to the sector
According to Kasanga, Mathari Mental hospital which serves the whole of east Africa has been completely neglected in terms of budgetary allocations.
“if you visit Mathari today, you will be surprised to see the kind of suffering that patients undergo every day. The hospital has poor sanitation, some beds are not stable and the kind of food these patients eat is really wanting”, she lamented.
Kasanga said her Mental Health Amendment Bill will address the emerging concerns.
The bill proposes a framework to promote the mental health and well-being of all persons, including reducing the incidences of mental illness, co-ordinate the prevention of mental illness, access to mental health care, treatment and rehabilitation services of persons with mental illness.
Currently, the task-force on Mental Health which was formed by President Kenyatta in 2019 is reviewing all the views it gathered from public before giving its report by February 28.