Building Access to Mental Health Care in Western Kenya with AMPATH

A Look into the MTRH Nawiri Recovery & Skills Centre

In February 2020, The Astellas Global Health Foundation announced it had awarded a three-year, $1.35 million grant to the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH), under the direction of the Indiana University Center for Global Health and in partnership with Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), to provide access to mental health programming in western Kenya. Fast forward just over two years and the MTRH Nawiri Recovery & Skills Centre is now offering mental health services and skills development training to people living with mental illness.

The Centre offers an intermediate step between hospitalized mental health care and independent living. Residents share a common kitchen and living area, where they learn skills of daily living by preparing meals, helping to clean the Centre and managing the farm next to the Centre. They also receive training in subjects such as sewing, knitting, beading, farming, landscaping and computer skills to help them reach financial independence after leaving the Centre.

“Learning computer literacy skills, beading and farming helped give me independence after I left the Centre. The combination of the new skills along with access to mental health care have helped me move forward,” says a former resident of the Centre.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health conditions contribute to poor health outcomes, premature death and global and national economic loss. More than 80 percent of people experiencing mental health conditions, including individuals experiencing neurological and substance use disorders, are without any form of quality, affordable mental health care. The Astellas Global Health Foundation is proud to support efforts to improve access to mental health and help address the lack of proper diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and related conditions.