The Kenya Psychiatric Association Annual Scientific conference 2022

I congratulate our new leaders and look forward to working with them towards a KPA that actively and incessantly pursues its noble vision - to be a leading professional association in mental health globally.

The 14th edition of the Kenya Psychiatric Association annual scientific conference was successfully held at the Sarova Whitesands hotel, Mombasa between the 6th to 8th of October 2022 and was preceded by the East African Young Psychiatrists and Trainees (EAYPTA) pre-conference held on the 5th October 2022.

The conference witnessed an impressive turnout of delegates drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom totaling over 130 delegates in number and re-assuringly diverse.

“Building a healthy nation – a focus on youth mental health” was our chosen theme this year. Consequently, and expectedly, the presentations made reflected this theme which was further divided into four subthemes – School mental health, substance abuse, sexual/reproductive health and youth-facing innovations in mental health. The conference received wide coverage in the mainstream media during the first day kickstarting conversations around the topic that is ongoing.

The KPA annual delegates meeting (AGM) which is traditionally held during the KPA conference met and elected four new members into the national executive committee namely:

  • Dr. Lawrence Nderi (Vice-president),
  • Dr. Sarah Katara Wawa (Deputy-secretary),
  • Dr. Neema Araka (NEC member) and
  • Dr. Lina Akello (NEC member)

The four will join up with 5 current NEC officials namely Dr. Lynda Daktari L Nyamute (NEC member), Dr. Mercy Karanja (Treasurer) Dr. Edith Kamaru Kwobah (CME coordinator), Dr. David Wairoto (Secretary) and myself (president). This becomes the new look NEC of the Kenya Psychiatric Association and the team assumed its functions immediately following the declaration of the election results presided over by Prof. Lukoye W’Atwoli and Dr. Susan Hinga. We thank the outgoing officials for offering their time and resources to support our association. We are infinitely indebted to Drs Wamukhoma Victoria, Kingi Mochache, Judy Kamau and Florence Jaguga.

I congratulate our new leaders and look forward to working with them towards a KPA that actively and incessantly pursues its noble vision – to be a leading professional association in mental health globally.

We were extremely privileged to have in our attendance the honorable deputy speaker of the national assembly of the Republic of Kenya madam Gladys Boss Shollei who attended our Gala dinner and picked up a few key issues of concern in mental health in Kenya including the nature of our laws that criminalize suicide attempt – a known symptom of mental Illness. She promised to support KPA in its quest for this and other legislative reforms in mental health.

We introduced the #KPAawards run by a subcommittee of NEC to reward our colleagues who are doing or have done exceptionally well in different fields of Psychiatry and mental health under 8 categories. This award has been established into an annual event and will serve to motivate professionals within the space and affiliates towards service and growth.

The three major outcomes that will define the success of the #KPAconference2022 include robust mentorship and networking that occurred organically & continuously during the conference; the expected impact of the presentations on clinical practice Psychiatrists attending and interacting with the conference presentations which will be evaluated through a survey three months post-conference and the positive effect on mental health policy. KPA will take the lead by establishing a position on school mental health based on the papers presented during our conference and current evidence. This position will be shared with relevant education stakeholders- the Ministry of education, schools, and parents. organizations and the general public through social and mainstream media.

There exists an infinitesimal probability in heaven, earth, or hell that one Uber mensch can singularly run a scientific conference successfully. We therefore humbly wish to acknowledge every person whose input led to the success of the #KPAconference2022 starting with the KPA scientific committee.

We most sincerely thank KPA members and friends of KPA and stakeholders in mental health and education for the overwhelming enthusiasm shown through the massive response to the call for abstracts and the historic turn out in physical attendance. We are equally grateful to our partner organisations who provided financial support to the conference. I thank the KPA NEC and secretariat for spending a couple of sleep deficient nights to realize the success of this year’s conference.

Conversations around #KPAconference2023 began even before the sun had set on the #KPAconference2022. We will be making the announcement of date and venue in due course. We challenge all potential and interested presenters including those who wish to do poster presentations to begin their preparations tout de suite so we can further raise the bar of our scientific presentations.