Foundation awards $1.35 million grant to expand mental health programming in western Kenya

The Astellas Global Health Foundation ("Foundation") and the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH), under the direction of the Indiana University Center for Global Health, announced today that the Foundation has awarded a $1.35 million grant over three years to AMPATH 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, consultant psychiatrist and head of mental health at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kenya and the Kenyan medical leader of the initiative.

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."

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. This is partially due to funding in many of these countries being prioritized to address infectious diseases and the significant stigma of mental illness3. 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," said Moyra Knight, president of the Astellas Global Health Foundation. "The important work AMPATH is doing in western Kenya improves the diagnosis and sustains treatment of mental illness for communities in critical need."

For the Astellas Global Health Foundation, formed in November 2018, this investment is the first focused on mental health, which is one of the Foundation's key focus areas in improving access to health in low- and middle-income countries where Astellas, a company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world, does not have a business presence. Additional priorities for Foundation funding are creating community resilience and providing grants for disaster support.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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