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Initiative to ensure doctors mental health launched

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy MAUREEN ODIWUOR AND CHRISTINE OGUTU | Tue,May 10 2016 09:31:31 EAT
By MAUREEN ODIWUOR AND CHRISTINE OGUTU | Tue,May 10 2016 09:31:31 EAT

An association has launched a programme to ensure health professionals are in good physical and mental state while handling patients.

The programme dubbed Medical Health Practitioners Health Programme (MHPHP) will ensure that all doctors are protected from professional stress.

Speaking at the 44th Kenya Medical Association Annual Scientific Conference in Kisumu, Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Wala said Kenyan doctors were dying from preventable causes like substance use, suicide, cardiovascular diseases and metabolic conditions that could easily be prevented with immediate interventions.

Dr Wala said affected doctors faced difficulty in practicing due to disabling chronic conditions. She added that cases of medical malpractice which were on the increase were fuelled partly by conditions such as neuro-psychiatric (mental disorders attributed to diseases of the nervous system) and substance related conditions.

“It is against this backdrop that we have come up with a mechanism to help doctors in need in pursuant of the Hippocratic (an oath many physicians take when they enter medical practice) injunction,” Wala said.

The MHPHP initiative will be rolled out on the basis of self, colleagues and supervisor referrals from medical practitioners.

At the national level KMA will constitute a committee comprising experts in mental health and senior specialists in other areas.

At the county level, divisional committees comprising senior members will handle the referrals.

“The committee will assure absolute confidentiality while handling referrals to ensure the medics affected gain confidence in the programme to be able to enroll in numbers. MHPHP will provide a list of health providers within the reach of impaired doctors,” she said.

She said the medics were required to follow through with the treatment plans or carry out any recommendations from the committees of those they were referred to without failure.

In the case of colleague referrals, due diligence will be carried out by the committee to ascertain the reports before further action is taken.

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