48TH KMA PRE-CONFERENCE

BACKGROUND

Young Doctors Network is a committee under the Kenya Medical Association, launched at the KMA@50 AGM in April 2018. The idea behind the committee was to increase participation of the younger professionals in the association and mentor & un-tap the potential of these professionals. The KMA - Young Doctors Network mission is to connect, develop and support young doctors by providing opportunities to explore and develop personal and professional growth.

The KMA Young Doctors Network held its inaugural Pre-conference on 24th April 2019, in Lake Naivasha Resort under the theme Mentorship and Innovation in medicine. The pre-conference was well attended with over 100 participants who listened to speakers with diverse background in entrepreneurship, innovation, advocacy, academia and leadership.

THEME

MENTAL HEALTH AND PHYSICIAN WELLBEING

Subthemes

  • Mental health as a human right
  • Promotion of good mental health and physician wellbeing by:
  • Combating work-related risk factors for mental health; time pressure, harassment, exposure to traumatic events, dealing with death.
  • Dealing with other social stressors e.g. unemployment, family life.
  • Supporting vulnerable/people at risk of mental health related problems e.g. new mothers.
  • Burn out and work-life balance.
  • Mental health interventions for mental health related issues such as,
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Suicide and depression
  • Other mental health disorders
  • Rehabilitation and reintegration into society and workplace for people with mental health related issues.
  • Addressing barriers to mental health among health professional
  • Mental health advocacy

 

Dr. Stellah Bosire is the Co-Executive Director of UHAI-EASHRI Africa’s first indigenous
activist fund for and by Sexual and Gender minorities and Sex Workers which supports
civil society organizing across 7 East and Central African states and Pan-African
organizing addressing; poverty, violence, ensuring that education, employment, housing,
and healthcare are accessible to all, without prejudice while fighting oppression and
injustice daily through changing legislation, landscapes, and lives.
Her expertise both locally and internationally is in Sexual and Reproductive Health and
Rights focusing on vulnerable populations especially Sex Workers, People who inject
drugs, Sexual and Gender Minorities, and People living with HIV/AIDS; influencing laws,
policies and programs within Kenya and beyond. Her work in human rights has been
adopted locally and internationally.
Her leadership positions include: former CEO of Kenya Medical Association, Vice Chair
of the HIV/AIDS Tribunal of Kenya and Board Member of Carolina For Kibera. A holder
of a Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Nairobi and a Master in
Business Administration- Healthcare Management from Strathmore Business School,
she was named top 40 under 40 Influential Women in Kenya 2017 is an Aspen 2018
Fellow, British Future Leaders Fellow, Top 20 Science Face of Kenya 2018 and was
recently awarded, 2019, the Point of Light Award by H.E Queen of England in recognition
of her work for Women, girls and Sexual and Gender Minorities within the Eastern Africa
Region. She also receives an Accountability Leadership Award in recognition of her work
in Human rights on HIV/AIDs.

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RATIONALE

Mental health, defined as a state of wellbeing in which an individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community, is an integral part of the health of any human being.

Mental health disorders account for 13% of the total global disease burden, with depression being a leading cause of disability. In Kenya the lifetime prevalence of mental health is estimated to be 25%. Mental health related issues are a growing concern with the ever-rising numbers of suicide cases, alcohol and substance abuse among others. Professionals including, doctors have not been spared in the statistics.

Health professionals are exposed to factors that impact their mental wellbeing daily. Beyond the mental health risk factors affecting the general population, health professionals deal with high demands at work, time pressure, difficult patients/relatives, harassment, traumatic events like mass casualties, among others. Many health professionals are often unable to attain a work life balance with burn out being a common occurrence, due to long and odd working hours, work compression, lack of supportive institutional culture, increasing responsibilities and keeping up with their obligations. Further, health professionals hide or suppress their feelings and will often not seek professional help even when they have access to the services. Stigma associated with mental health among health professionals is experienced too.

The consequences of mental health related problems are huge, ranging from social impact on the individuals, their families & friends, economic losses due to job loss, absenteeism among other health consequences like disability or even death.

Mental health has been neglected or not recognized as a priority health issues, like other organic illnesses. As a result of mental health not being perceived as a key public health agenda: little has been done to advance prevention nor treatment of mental health disorders, all these, as the needy numbers were rising. As a result, the mental health system remains weak due to lack of adequate funding, inadequate facilities and infrastructure to deal with mental health, inadequate human resources, poor/lack of mental health stewardship and leadership.

The KMA YDN preconference aims to advance discussion on the mental health among health professionals and the population, increase awareness on mental health and adopt strategies to prevent, promote and intervene on issues related to mental health

OBJECTIVES OF THE YDN PRECONFERENCE

  • Increase awareness on mental health – particularly among health professionals
  • Identify gaps in mental health policies and practices and advocate for better workspaces.
  • Identify solutions for mental health issues among health professionals
  • Integrate good mental health practices the workspace.
  • Learn and share mental health challenges, experiences and stories of triumph.
  • Equip participants with knowledge on how to mitigate the burden of mental health issues among health professionals
  • Identify avenues for professionals to get help when need arises
  • Promote and respect the rights of persons with mental health related issues
  • Improve mental health seeking behavior among health professionals.

 

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