Kenyan Senator Seeks Integration Of Mental Health Facilities For Mothers

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Kenyan nominated Senator Hamida Kibwana has tabled a motion in the Senate seeking the integration of mental health facilities for mothers.

According to Hamida, mothers globally face mental problems during pregnancy and shortly after delivery, with developing countries being the worst hit.

"According to the World Health Organization, globally, 10 per cent of pregnant women and 13 per cent of women who have just given birth experience a mental condition, referred to as perinatal depression, which is higher in developing countries with 15.6 per cent during pregnancy, and 19.8 per cent after childbirth," explained the Senator.

Hamida noted situations in Kenya where mothers who have experienced stillbirth and those who lose their babies immediately after delivery being mixed with other mothers recovering with their babies in general wards as some of the reasons that catalyze mental conditions among mothers.

"There is a need for training in psychiatric care with support being given to primary care providers to realize full integration of mental health care into primary health care," she stated.

The Senator wants the Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the Council of Governors, to ensure health facilities across the country offer separate wards for mothers who have experienced stillbirths and those who lose their babies immediately after delivery to curb increased cases of mental health conditions among mothers.

In addition, Senator Hamida urged the Ministry, in collaboration with the Council of Governors, to ensure consistent mental health training accompanied by counselling through the establishment of counselling facilities.

"Appreciating that the Health Act under section 6 (1) (b) states that every person has a right to reproductive health care, which includes the right of access to appropriate health care services that will enable mothers to go safely through pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period which should include the integration of mental health in perinatal care," she emphasized.

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