- The 600-bed facility will be built on an 80-hectare piece of land in Karen/Ngong area.
- Uhuru has acknowledged that mental health is a growing burden in the country.
The construction of a new mental hospital will start next month.
The 600-bed facility will be built on an 80-hectare piece of land in Karen/Ngong area to address the growing burden of mental illness in the country.
Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta met officials from San Raffaele Research Hospital, a top private hospital in Italy, led by group chairman Kamel Ghribi to seal a partnership for setting up the facility.
Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an Italian firm for consultancy services, development and delivery of the mental health facility.
The meeting was attended by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and Amref Health Africa officials.
Besides offering treatment, the facility will also host a specialist university to train mental health workers.
Uhuru has acknowledged that mental health is a growing burden in the country and in the region hence the need for a specialist hospital to cater for the rising cases.
“This is something that is long overdue. This facility will help in tackling the growing burden of mental health patients," Uhuru said.
“Mental health is becoming one of the biggest health challenges in the country and having a centre helping tackle the problem will be great.”
The project is a public-private partnership involving local and international players.
The hospital will be named the National Teaching and Referral Neuropsychiatric Centre and is expected to provide better care, more room and ease pressure on Mathari Hospital.
Mathari located along Thika Superhighway will be upgraded for other medical purposes.
The partnership will train psychiatrists and psychologists for the new hospital and the rest of the country.
“We are committed to quality health services. As an organisation we will ensure this facility becomes a premier international neuropsychiatric and wellness centre in Africa and beyond,” Ghribi said.
The agreement seeks to provide an enhanced local health sector that will guarantee quality services to all Kenyans and propel the country into a regional centre of choice for different diagnostics and advanced treatment.
The country has witnessed exponential rise in the number of mental disorders in recent years with statistics indicating that approximately 20 to 25 per cent of outpatients seeking primary healthcare present symptoms of mental illness.
A task force on mental health inaugurated in December 2019 recommended a raft of measures including declaring mental health a national emergency.
It also recommended creation of a mental health and happiness commission to advise, coordinate and continuously monitor the status of mental health in the country.
"It is sad to note that mental health conditions remain a silent epidemic due to stigma, discrimination, reduced access to treatment and psychosocial support," Kagwe said.
Edited by Henry Makori