Ministry signs MOU with Johnson and Johnson to enhance access to mental healthcare services in Kenya


The Government of Kenya recognizes mental health as a serious public health and development concern. The presidential directive of 1st June, 2019, set up a taskforce on mental health, which on 7th July, 2020 released its report with recommendations aimed at strengthening the Kenyan mental health system, that the Ministry of Health is committed to implementing through the office of the presidential advisor on mental health.

Development of the Kenya Mental Health Action Plan to operationalize the Kenya Mental Health Policy, the launch of the suicide Prevention Strategy which provides key interventions and whose implementation will lead to a reduction in suicide-related deaths, and the recent assent of the Mental Health Amendment bill 2020 by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta are some of the milestones the Government has achieved towards strengthening the mental health system in the Country.

The Ministry of Health has entered into a memorandum of Understanding with Johnson and Johnson seeks to build on the achievements through Mental Health Capacity Training, enhancing access to Primary Mental Health Services and Products and Mental Health Services Access through Technological Innovations:

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache welcomed the partnership with Johnson & Johnson, which will also support the development of a Psychiatric Telemedicine Solution in Kenya.”Mental health is a public health threat. The Ministry of Health expresses its gratitude to Johnson & Johnson for partnering with the Kenyan Government to tackle the mental health burden, manifested by growing suicide cases, gender-based violence and child abuse cases,” Mochache said.

The PS noted that the collaboration with Johnson & Johnson touches on mental healthcare priority areas, and the ministry is optimistic that the partnership will bear demonstrable impact nationwide for the next five years.

Through the MoU provisions, Johnson & Johnson Country Manager, Ms Queenter Owuonda, said the company will continue to support the mental health agenda in the country, including training psychiatric nurses, with an initial cohort already trained. Johnson & Johnson will also develop an approach for sustainable access to essential and innovative medicines to treat severe mental illness, focusing on Schizophrenia in the public sector.

Johnson & Johnson’s Head of Government Affairs & Policy, Sub Saharan Africa, Ms Idah Asin, reiterated the company’s commitment to supporting the Kenyan Government’s efforts to identify Schizophrenia, particularly in young adults, as this is the age around which Schizophrenia often starts. She noted that identifying and clinically managing Schizophrenia in young adults remains a crucial pillar of Johnson &Johnson’s contribution to broadening access to mental healthcare support.