Astellas, AMPATH to aid mental health programming in Western Kenya

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The Astellas Global Health Foundation has awarded a Ksh. 135.9 million (US$1.35 million) grant to the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) which will be used to provide 400,000 people with access to mental health programming in Western Kenya.

AMPATH will integrate mental health services into AMPATH’s chronic disease system in public health facilities and broaden population engagement through a mental health awareness campaign. Additionally, AMPATH will provide group transitional housing and care for patients with severe mental health disorders.

“The Astellas Global Health Foundation funding will help AMPATH to meaningfully expand our mental health programming, as we are committed to improving access to and quality of mental health care, reducing treatment gaps and empowering patients in western Kenya,” said Edith Kwobah, MBChB, MMED, the Kenyan medical leader of the initiative said in a statement.

“This grant will provide training for community health volunteers to screen for mental health disorders and refer members of the Kenyan community to appropriate care facilities to improve health outcomes for these patients,” added Matthew Turissini, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine.

Indiana University, which leads the consortium of North American academic health centers within the AMPATH partnership, will serve as the administrator for the grant.

According to the World Health Organization, 75 percent of people affected by mental health disorders in low-income countries do not have access to the treatment they need.1 This is partially due to funding in many of these countries being prioritized to address infectious diseases2 and the significant stigma of mental illness. The grant from the Astellas Global Health Foundation will help AMPATH address this treatment gap in western Kenya.

“Access to mental health care is a worldwide issue with a particularly significant lack of proper diagnosis and treatment among low- and middle-income populations. The important work AMPATH is doing in western Kenya improves the diagnosis and sustains treatment of mental illness for communities in critical need,” said Moyra Knight, president of the Astellas Global Health Foundation.

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