Mental clinic opened in remote Kilifi area as illness cases rise
Mental health patients in remote areas of Kilifi County have a reason to smile after the Department of Health and a non-governmental organization constructed a clinic in a remote area.
According to Kilifi County Public health officer Hassan Ali, the county has 7,000 recorded mental health patients but they face challenges of low staffing and inadequate facilities.
Speaking during the commissioning of the Gongoni Mental Health Clinic in Magarini Sub County, he added that mental health services are only offered at the Kilifi County Referral Hospital in Kilifi town and the Malindi and Mariakani Sub County hospitals.
“In the County, we have 7,000 patients but that is underreporting because we don’t have adequate reporting tools to get the correct data,” he said.
Ali added that the clinic was constructed and equipped at a cost of KES 1.3 million by the Basic Needs organization. It is expected to go a long way in addressing issues affecting mental health patients.
The Chairman of the Basic Needs organization Alan Obinga said that the aim of the projects was to take services closer to the people.
“It is called the inclusive community health project where the goal is to increase access to rights and participation of mentally ill persons in community programmes. The walking distance for mental services is more than 25 kilometers and we are working to reduce that,” he said.
Anita Changawa from Kamale village in Magarini Sub County who is an epilepsy patient said that she used to walk long distances and spend a lot of money seeking services but the new clinics will help many people access services.
She is currently an advocate for the rights of mentally challenged persons in Magarini Sub County and has been instrumental in pushing the County government and organizations to devolve the mental health clinics.
“I used to spend a lot of money traveling long distances to seek medical care but now I am glad people will no longer suffer,” she said.