President Uhuru Kenyatta has settled on Prof Lukoye Atwoli as the board Chairman of the Mathari Teaching and Referral Hospital based in Nairobi.
According to the terms of the appointment, Prof Lukoye will steer the board of mental care facility for the next five years.
Lukoye, cut out from the root of academic world and now serving in various professional capacities is a man with many hats.
In July 2020, the son of COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli was picked as the Dean of Aga Khan University’s Medical College (East Africa). He also serves as an associate professor of psychiatry in the Moi University Department of Mental Health at the School of Medicine.
Prof also serves as a consultant psychiatrist at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH). This is the same position he holds at the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH).
His appointment appears to be part of the renewed efforts by the government to transform the mental facility and scale up service delivery.
In December 6, 2019, Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege who chairs the National Assembly Health Committee tabled a proposal have include more services at the facility.
According to the legislator, time was ripe for transforming the face of the facility and inculcating a different perception. He lamented the situation where the facility has always been associated with handling mental problems, making it subject of ridicule.
“If we introduced other services it will be easier for someone going through a mental health issue to walk into the facility without the fear of being judged. They can, for instance, say they are going to have a simple dental checkup,” Chege said.
The facility, which began in 1910 has been understocked with personnel. And to this effect, Chege proposed that more nurses and psychiatrist be deployed there to bridge the gap.
“We have to change the approach. When we visited the facility sometime back we found one nurse caring for almost 150 patients while some of the patients had been at the facility for almost 20 years,” Chege said.
In the wake of Covid-19 outbreak in the country, the Ministry of Health established a 24-houur call centre for mental issues after it emerged that most people suffering mental problems associated with the impacts of the Covid-19 in the country.