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Traditional health practitioners and mental health in Kenya

  • Marx Okonji (a1), Frank Njenga (a1), David Kiima (a2), James Ayuyo (a3), Pius Kigamwa (a4), Ajit Shah (a5) and Rachel Jenkins (a6)...

Abstract

The prevalence of psychiatric morbidity among rural and urban Kenyan primary care attenders has been reported to be as high as 63% (Ndetei & Muhangi, 1979; Dhapdale & Ellison, 1983; Dhapdale et al, 1989; Sebit, 1996). For its population of 32 million, Kenya has only 16 psychiatrists and 200–300 psychiatric nurses, but there are just over 2000 primary healthcare centres, staffed by general nurses and clinical officers, and the main burden for assessing and caring for people with mental disorders falls upon members of the primary care teams. However, mental disorders are poorly recognised (Dhapdale & Ellison, 1983) and inadequately treated in primary care (Muluka & Dhapdale, 1986). Moreover, Kenyan primary care workers often lack training in mental health (Dhapdale et al, 1989; see also Ndetei, this issue, p. 31).

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits noncommercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

References

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Dhapdale, M., Cooper, G. & Cartwright-Taylor, L. (1989) Prevalence and presentation of depressive illness in a primary health care setting in Kenya. American Journal of Psychiatry, 146, 659661.
Dhapdale, M. & Ellison, R. H. (1983) The frequency of mental disorders in the out-patients of two Nyanza hospitals. Central African Journal of Medicine, 29, 2932.
Katz, S. H. & Kimani, V. N. (1982) Why patients go to traditional healers. East African Medical Journal, 59, 170174.
Muluka, E. A. P. & Dhapdale, M. (1986) District focus: management of psychiatric disorders in general practice. East African Medical Journal, 63, 562565.
Ndetei, D. M. (2007) Traditional healers in East Africa. International Psychiatry, 4, 8586.
Ndetei, D. M. & Muhangi, J. (1979) The prevalence and clinical presentation of psychiatric illness in a rural setting in Kenya. British Journal of Psychiatry, 135, 269272.
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Sebit, M. B. (1996) Prevalence of psychiatric disorders in general practice in Nairobi. East African Medical Journal, 73, 631633.
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Traditional health practitioners and mental health in Kenya

  • Marx Okonji (a1), Frank Njenga (a1), David Kiima (a2), James Ayuyo (a3), Pius Kigamwa (a4), Ajit Shah (a5) and Rachel Jenkins (a6)...

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Traditional health practitioners and mental health in Kenya

  • Marx Okonji (a1), Frank Njenga (a1), David Kiima (a2), James Ayuyo (a3), Pius Kigamwa (a4), Ajit Shah (a5) and Rachel Jenkins (a6)...
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