The department of psychiatry is one of the departments at the School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences. It was established in 1971 soon after the start of the medical college in 1967. The department is situated at the medical school, Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). For teaching purposes, the department also uses Mathari Hospital, which is situated about 10 kilometres away from KNH. At KNH together with staff from KNH we run outpatient clinics for both adults and children. Mathari hospital with approximately 700 inpatients also offers teaching facilities. An alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility has recently been established at Mathari hospital.
Training: Soon after its establishment the main task was teaching behavioural sciences and psychiatry to the undergraduate medical students. The syllabuses for these courses are regularly reviewed to make sure that the graduates are well equipped to handle the common mental health problems in the community. Initially the department assisted in preparing candidates for training in in the UK for the Membership examination in Psychiatry but soon after a Master of Medicine degree in psychiatry (MMed Psych) was established in 1981/1982. This is a 3-year full time course and the students are required to submit a dissertation before qualifying. Since 1983, 90 psychiatrists have graduated from the programme. Seventy-one of these are currently practicing in Kenya. In order to meet the demand for more mental health workers the department found it necessary to introduce courses for other cadre of staff. A number of these are currently running as detailed below. Other courses are at various stages of development. A unique feature of the latter courses is that they are offered in units that the student can complete at their own pace.