Mombasa health sector players have raised concerns over the biting shortage of mental illness experts in most of public health centers that has hurt mental healthcare delivery amid rising cases of the problem.
According to Dream Achievers Youth Organization (DAYO), sexual health and reproductive rights Officer Gaitano Ndalo , mental health and stress is becoming rampant among the youthful age in Mombasa amid shortage of experts to manage the situation.
Ndalo said there is need for the county government of Mombasa to invest more in Psychologist Psychiatrist professionals and deploy them in youth friendly centers where hundreds of youth seek refuge to manage stress.
“We have a lot of youth who seek Mental illness and sexual reproductive services at youth friendly centers, yet these centers lack mental illness experts to help them manage stress, these centers are incapacitated, some do not have professionals,” said Ndalo.
According to United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) 2013 data, Mombasa has only 3 Psychologists experts with only 1 posted at the Coast general referral hospital amid rising demand for experts.
The human rights activist appealed for joint approach between state and non-state actors to ensure existence of sufficient youth friendly facilities within the county.
According to the official, stress leads to frustrations in life, suicide and drug and substance abuse among other vices.
“Mental health and stress management are some of the important components of health. It is becoming a concern that should be amicably addressed,” said Ndalo.
He spoke during a consultative forum organised by ‘Right here right now Kenya platform’, a consortium of 15 organisations that champion for social productive health and rights of young people and adolescents in Kenya.
“Another gap that has been identified by the Adolescent sexual reproductive policy 2015 is that there is shortage of commodities like contraceptive drugs, condoms that meets the need of the youthful generation,” said Ndalo.
He said majority of youth shy away from youth friendly centers owing to the services are not youth centered therefore becoming unfriendly.
Mombasa has only 13 youth friendly centers, and according to health experts, they do not have requisite equipment’s and services.
“Apart from capacity commodity supply remains a major concern that we want our youth friendly centers to be fully packed ranging from qualified personnel to some commodities that are very important to the youth,” added Mr. Ndalo.
The National Guideline on the Provision of Youth Friendly facilities seeks to address some of these challenges including health and promotion of adolescent rights among others.
Youth Accountability and Strategy Network advocacy officer George Ndung’u expressed concern that only few youths understand the existence of the National Guideline for the provision of youth friendly services.
“Very few young people know that this policy exists, the government should conduct a series of campaigns to instill knowledge to Kenyans about this,” he noted.
Stretchers Youth Organization youth liaison officer Rebecca Achieng’ wants the county government to offer full packages to youth in one place.
She argues that youth services should not only be friendly but also strategically placed for ease access.
“What we want as youths is to get all our services in one place. We do not want to be referred to other places,” she explained.