NAIROBI, Kenya September 2 – The Ministry of Health has signed a collaboration pact with innovative healthcare company Johnson & Johnson to facilitate access to quality mental health services in Kenya.
Kenyans will benefit from greater access to effective and appropriate mental health services and products thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health Susan Mochache and Johnson & Johnson in Kenya.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, PS Mochache welcomed the support of Johnson & Johnson, who will also support the development of a psychiatric telemedicine solution in Kenya.
“Mental health is a threat to public health. The Ministry of Health expresses its gratitude to Johnson & Johnson for partnering with the Kenyan government to tackle the mental health burden, which is manifested in rising cases of suicide, gender-based violence and child abuse children,” Mochache said. She added: “The collaboration with Johnson & Johnson touches on priority areas of mental health, and the department is optimistic that this partnership will have a demonstrable impact nationally over the next five years.”
Through the provisions of the MoU, Johnson & Johnson Country Director Ms Queenter Owuonda said the company will continue to support the mental health program in the country, including the training of psychiatric nurses, with a cohort initial already formed. Johnson & Johnson will also develop an approach for sustainable access to essential and innovative medicines to treat serious mental illnesses, focusing on schizophrenia in the public sector.
Johnson & Johnson’s Head of Government Affairs and Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa, Ms. Idah Asin, reiterated the company’s commitment to supporting the Kenyan government’s efforts to identify schizophrenia, particularly among young adults. , because it is at this age that schizophrenia often begins. She noted that the identification and clinical management of schizophrenia in young adults remains a crucial pillar of Johnson & Johnson’s contribution to expanding access to mental health care support.
Development of the Kenya Mental Health Action Plan to operationalize the Kenya Mental Health Policy, the launch of the Suicide Prevention Strategy which outlines key interventions and whose implementation will lead to a reduction in deaths related to suicide, and the recent assent of the Mental Health Amendment Bill 2020 by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta are some of the steps taken by the government to strengthen the mental health system in the country. The MoU with Johnson and Johnson aims to build on achievements through building HRH capacity and improving access to services and products through technology, among others.