Friday, February 25, 2011

There are an estimated three million, mostly poor, Kenyans living with intellectual and mental disabilities, according to NGO and United Nations figures

Kenyan families are struggling to cope with their loved ones, receiving little help from the state and facing massive stigma from society. Families are locking up their loved ones, children are being discarded by institutions and there are many cases of suspected sexual abuse. Kenya faces an epidemic of neglect as autistic children are chained in chicken coops, epileptic adults are sealed in filthy shacks and daughters are raped by their fathers. The Kenyan government spends less than 1% of its health budget on mental health though their own figures show that one-quarter of all patients going to hospitals or clinics complain of mental health issues. In addition, the Health and Medical Services ministries have been plagued by a series of corruption scandals. More than $3 billion in public money was stolen in 2009, according to the Kenyan Ministry of Finance. This could have funded the entire ministry responsible for mental health - for 10 years.

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