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Senator tables motion on creation of mental health facilities for mothers

Mental Health
 10 per cent of pregnant women and 13 per cent of women who have just given birth experience perinatal depression. [iStockphoto]

Nominated Senator Hamida Kibwana has tabled a motion in the Senate seeking the establishment of mental health facilities for mothers.

Ms Kibwana said that women who experience stillbirths and those that lose their children during delivery are taken to the general maternity ward where other mothers with healthy babies are recovering, causing them mental anguish.

“Integrating mental health care into primary healthcare settings requires training in psychiatric care and providing consulting support to primary care providers, considering that there are not enough mental health care providers to meet the current and growing need for mental health services,” she said.

World Health Organisation statics show that globally 10 per cent of pregnant women and 13 per cent of women who have just given birth experience perinatal depression, which is high in developing countries with 15.6 per cent during pregnancy and 19.8 per cent after childbirth.

She noted that the Health Act under section 6 (1) (b) provides that every person has a right to reproductive health care which includes enabling mothers to go safely through pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

Kibwana called for the integration of mental health in perinatal care as recommended by the National Mental Health Taskforce in its "Mental Health and Wellbeing towards Happiness and National Prosperity" report.

She called on the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Council of Governors to ensure that all county health facilities with maternity wings allocate a separate ward for the recovery of mothers who have experienced stillbirth or those that have lost their babies during delivery.

“We are also asking that the Ministry of Health and Council of Governors to ensure that all county health facilities have continuous mental health training and the provision of counselling support in the perinatal wards for all primary care providers in all counties,” said Kibwana.

The Nominated Senator called for the establishment of counselling facilities at all county health facilities with maternity wings to provide therapy to mothers who lose their children through miscarriage, during delivery, or through stillbirth and those who suffer from perinatal and postpartum depression.

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