KMA YDN 2022 PRE-CONFERENCE

THEME: THE UNSPOKEN MENTAL HEALTH PANDEMIC

BACK GROUND

Young Doctors Network (YDN) 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 hosts a one-day pre-conference each year as a prelude to the KMA Annual Scientific Conference and General Meeting (AGM). This event attracts over 100 participants and hosts speakers with a diverse background in entrepreneurship, innovation, advocacy, academia and leadership. Past editions include the inaugural edition held in 2019 at the Lake Naivasha Resort that focused on Mentorship and Innovation in medicine and the 2021 edition held as a hybrid event at Kamel Park Hotel in Kisii that focused on Career development & Entrepreneurship.

This year KMA YDN aims to host a hybrid pre-conference for 300 participants on 01 June 2022 at the Noble Hotel, Eldoret, under the theme, “The Unspoken Mental Health Pandemic.” In addition, we will spearhead a mental health social media campaign based on the event theme in the months leading to the event with an aim to amplify the voice of mental health advocacy in the country.

SUB - THEMES

  1. Mental health as a human right
  2. Promotion of good mental health and physician wellbeing by:
    a. Combating work-related risk factors for mental health; time pressure, harassment, exposure to traumatic events, dealing with death.
    b. Dealing with other social stressors e.g. unemployment, family life.
    c. Supporting the vulnerable/people at risk of mental health related problems
  3. Mental health in the current COVID-19 era:
    a. Impact of COVID-19 to physician mental health,
    b. Impact of quarantine measures to mental health,
    c. Future of mental health strategies amidst a pandemic (rehabilitation and reintegration etc.)
  4. Mental health in Low- and Middle-Income Countries:
    a. Socioeconomic barriers to mental health access,
    b. Culture and mental health,
    c. Advancements in mental health in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.
  5. Mental health among risk groups e.g., women, young and geriatric population and disabled community.
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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RATIONALE

Currently one in every ten Kenyans suffers a common mental health disorder. In addition, only 25% of those living with a mental health condition are able to access outpatient and inpatient mental health services. Furthermore, mental health is still heavily stigmatized in Kenya, affecting risk groups such as women and children, the very young and the very old.

Healthcare workers are also not spared in these statistics. Some of the reasons for the significant rise in mental health cases in 2019-2021 include: insufficient funding towards mental health initiatives, inadequate resources for mental health service providers as well as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put quite a strain on the mental well-being of healthcare workers as they have been exposed to several factors that impact their mental wellbeing daily. Beyond the mental health risk factors affecting the general population, healthcare workers deal with high demands at work, time pressure, difficult patients/relatives, harassment, traumatic events like mass casualties, among others. Many healthcare workers 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.

These statistics prove that now more than ever, there is a need to discuss these inequalities and provide unique strategies to overcome them. The 2022 KMA YDN Pre-Conference aims to advance the discussion on mental health as well as provide strategies to overcome these challenges and create a better mental health action plan that can help Kenya achieve several Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3 and SDG 4) by the year 2030.

EXPECTED PARTICIPANTS

Young Doctors and Medical Students from Kenya and the region
Number: 200

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