Monday, March 16, 2009

Failing the mentally ill

Just 0.01 percent of Kenya's health budget is spent on mental health, compared to around 6 percent in the U.S. 10 percent of Kenya's people have mental health issues, and about 1 percent have disorders serious enough to warrant inpatient treatment. Kenya has only one psychiatrist for every 500,000 people, compared to one for every 8,000 at most in the United States.The problem is worse in some other African countries .The World Health Organization says up to 85 percent of mentally ill or disabled people in the developing world never get treatment.

"The community does not see these people as human beings. They do not see their suffering," says Edah Maina, who heads the Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped.

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