CS Kagwe Speaks on Losing Best Friend to Illness

  • Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses the media at Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020
    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses the media at Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke
  • Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe, on Monday, July 13, opened up on losing his best friend who was also the best man at his wedding.

    The two had grown up together in Nyeri and were practically inseparable right until the moment Kagwe's best man passed away after battling mental illness-related issues for several years.

    “I watched him get sick and deteriorate. He was hospitalised in the ‘90s and it had become part of my routine to take food and visit him regularly,” he stated in an interview with the Daily Nation.

    Preferring not to disclose the name of the man he held dearly, Kagwe went on to narrate how prior to his unfortunate mental illness, his best friend had attained a scholarship to study engineering in Manchester, United Kingdom.

    (From Left) Water CS Sicily Kariuki, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia during a meeting on June 15, 2020
    (From Left) Water CS Sicily Kariuki, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia during a meeting on June 15, 2020
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    Upon his return, he ended up at an unnamed multi-national company where he quickly rose through the ranks.

    However, those years at the company ended up being his last productive years, spending the rest of his years battling mental issues.

    CS Kagwe revealed that he laid his friend to rest recently, “He was a brilliant guy,” he stated.

    Kenya's Taskforce on Mental Health, on July 8, handed a report to the Ministry of Health urging CS Kagwe and President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare mental illness a national public health emergency.

    The team had been tasked with coming up with new policies to address growing concerns about mental health among Kenyans. This came amidst rising depression and mental sickness blamed for murder and suicide cases.

    Further, the task force recommended the setting up of a special commission to monitor the state of mental health and happiness among Kenyans named the Mental Wellness and Happiness Commission.

    According to the report presented to the Health CS, one in every 10 Kenyans suffers from one form of mental disorder. Depression and anxiety disorders are the most common, followed by substance use disorders.

    Kenyans who spoke to the task force cited the widespread concern over high levels of stress due to lack of jobs, constant negative politics and fear of violent and divisive elections, as factors that contribute greatly to the various levels of mental health issues.

    Taskforce on Mental Health in Kenya co-chairs Dr Frank Njenga and Health PS Susan Mochache during the handover of their report at Afya House, Nairobi, on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
    Taskforce on Mental Health in Kenya co-chairs Dr Frank Njenga and Health PS Susan Mochache during the handover of their report at Afya House, Nairobi, on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
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