The fight against mental disorders in Nakuru County will receive a major boost as Gilgil Mental Hospital is set to receive a conditional grant from the national government.
This is good news to the increasing population of mental health patients in the region. The grant will boost service delivery and address rising cases of mental disorders in the region. The facility serves the neighbouring counties of Baringo, Kericho, Bomet, Narok, Nyandarua, Samburu and Laikipia.
This grant will put the hospital at par with Nakuru Level Five Hospital in terms of financial boost from the national government.
“We are lobbying to have the national government consider elevating the Gilgil Mental Hospital and boost its financial capacity by giving it a conditional grant. The hospital conducts screening and diagnosis for mental illnesses. It also offers psychiatry and counselling services to patients from across the country,” said Dr Benedict Osore, who is in-charge of Administration and Planning.
The official was speaking during a recent workshop on mental health organised by Midrifthurinet, a non-profit making organisation.
He announced that the facility will also offer teaching and training facilities to psychiatry students from the government’s medical training centres, public universities as well as private hospitals and universities.
“This is the second fully-fledged psychiatric and mental health care facility in the country after Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital and it is only fair if we get a conditional grant from the government as it receives many patients outside Nakuru,” said Dr Osore.
According to health experts, the cost of treating mental illness is between Sh50,000 and Sh100,000 excluding the doctors’ consultation fee of Sh10,000.
He revealed that the county has seen a surge in the number of mental health patients since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated.
Dr Osore said the county will continue to work with Midrifthurinet to address the rising cases of mental health and Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
“GBV cases need serious intervention and it is important to address problems before they transform into a psychiatric illness which is expensive to treat,” said Dr Osore.
He observed that the county has also supported some of the health workers including doctors to train in mental health.
“We have done the mapping and we have been able to support doctors to go and do psychiatric and three of them have been trained and posted to Naivasha Sub-County Hospital, Gilgil Mental Hospital and Nakuru Level Five Hospital. This is in addition to recruitment of psychiatric nurses last year to support at lower-level facilities across the 11 sub-counties,” said Dr Osore.