Depression may soon be Kenyans' leading killer: Doctors

President Kenya Medical Association Dr. Jacqueline Kitulu and her deputy Professor Lukoye Atwoli.
One in every four Kenyans is suffering from depression, the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) has said.

The doctors, who spoke during the association's 51st annual conference in Naivasha yesterday, said depression was likely to be the leading killer in 20 years if necessary measures are not taken to contain the condition.

KMA vice president Lukoye Atwoli noted that cases of depression were on the rise.

Prof Atwoli said the national and county governments were not keen on containing depression, yet it killed many and was only second to road accidents.

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“There are many factors contributing to depression, and anybody with a functioning brain is prone to suffer from it, with its manifestation being as dramatic as recently witnessed,” he said.

One of the challenges facing the fight against depression, Atwoli said, is the fact that most people are not aware they are suffering from the condition.

"In the end, you see people commit suicide due to depression, which will soon be a leading killer in Kenya if nothing is done," Atwoli said, adding: “There is need to educate the public on dangers of non-communicable diseases such as depression so they can take preventive measures.”

KMA president Jacqueline Kitulu said they would work with all stakeholders to address the condition.

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