Kenya, Johnson & Johnson sign MoU to propel mental healthcare services

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  • Johnson & Johnson and the Ministry of Kenya have signed an MoU to facilitate access to quality mental healthcare services in Kenya
  • The MoU that would see Kenyans would benefit from improved access to effective and appropriate mental healthcare services and products.
  • It would also see Johnson & Johnson support the development of a Psychiatric Telemedicine Solution in Kenya

Kenya’s Ministry of Health has signed a collaborative pact with Johnson & Johnson to facilitate access to quality mental healthcare services in Kenya.

On September 2, 2022, the ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would see Kenyans would benefit from improved access to effective and appropriate mental healthcare services and products.

The Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said the deal would also see Johnson & Johnson support the development of a Psychiatric Telemedicine Solution in Kenya.

She noted that mental health is a public health threat. She added that the partnership would see them tackle the mental health burden manifested by growing suicide cases, gender-based violence and child abuse cases.

“Collaboration with Johnson & Johnson touches on mental healthcare priority areas, and the ministry is optimistic that this partnership will bear demonstrable impact nationwide for the next five years,” she added.

Through the MoU provisions, Johnson & Johnson Country Manager, Queenter Owuonda, said the company would continue to support the mental health agenda in the country, including training psychiatric nurses, with an initial cohort already trained.

Johnson & Johnson will also develop an approach for sustainable access to essential and innovative medicines to treat severe mental illness, focusing on Schizophrenia in the public sector.

Mental health image. Photo: Unsplash.

Johnson & Johnson’s Head of Government Affairs & Policy, Sub Saharan Africa, Idah Asin, reiterated the company’s commitment to supporting the Kenyan Government’s efforts to identify Schizophrenia, particularly in young adults, as this is the age around which Schizophrenia often starts. She noted that identifying and clinically managing Schizophrenia in young adults remains a crucial pillar of Johnson & Johnson’s contribution to broadening access to mental healthcare support.

Some milestones the government has achieved towards strengthening the mental health system in Kenya include the development of the Kenya Mental Health Action Plan to operationalize the Kenya Mental Health Policy and the launch of the suicide Prevention Strategy.

The strategy provides key interventions and whose implementation will lead to a reduction in suicide-related deaths and the recent assent of the Mental Health Amendment bill 2020 by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The MoU with Johnson and Johnson seeks to build on the achievements through HRH capacity building and improving access to services & products through technology, among others.

Kenya urged to take advantage of its health assets in medical tourism

In a separate story, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta recently unveiled the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) national scale-up. He called on Kenyans to register for the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

The President affirmed the government’s commitment to spreading the benefits of UHC across the country through the development of a focused policy to accelerate its implementation.

“My administration has developed the Universal Healthcare Coverage Policy, covering the period 2020 – 2030, to guide the acceleration of the progress in attaining Universal Health Coverage,” the President said.

The President was speaking at the Port Reitz sub-county hospital in Mombasa, where he said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to bear the urgent need for the country to upscale the implementation of the UHC.

“Under this pillar, we seek to eradicate the ‘poverty of dignity’ and transition our nation into an era where no Kenyan should be forced to choose between medical bills and other essential needs,” President Kenyatta said.

On UHC, the Head of State said we started the programme in the country in 2013 with the highly acclaimed free maternity programme dubbed “Linda Mama”, which currently benefits over one million mothers annually.

He outlined various initiatives the Government has put in place to ensure the successful implementation of UHC, including investment in health infrastructure and the development of a digital health platform to support effective health sector monitoring.

Kenya: President Kenyatta unveils, rolls out Universal Health Coverage

Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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