Mental healthcare in Kenya: exploring optimal conditions for capacity building

Elijah Marangu, Natisha Sands, John Rolley, David Ndetei, Fethi Mansouri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


The global burden of disease related to mental disorders is on the increase, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that over 450 million people are affected worldwide. The Mental Health Global Action Program (mhGAP) was launched by the WHO in 2002 in order to address the widening gap in access to mental healthcare in low-income countries. Despite these efforts, access to mental healthcare in low-income countries remains poor and is often described as inadequate, inefficient and inequitable, with an 85% estimated treatment gap in low-income countries, as compared with 35% to 50% in high-income countries.In this article, the authors argue that integrating mental health services into primary healthcare settings through capacity building is vital with regard to achieving mhGAP goals. The article explores the challenges to and potential enablers for the improvement of the delivery of broad-based mental healthcare services in Kenya. The authors propose the integration of the conceptual dimensions of both the cosmopolitanism and capabilities approaches as a combined strategy for dealing with capacity building in heterogeneous settings such as Kenya.

Original languageEnglish
Article number682
Pages (from-to)E1-5
JournalAfrican Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2014


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