Baringo County Psychiatrist Stanley Kitelit has urged women to come out and speak on the issue of postpartum depression (PPD) since it is a reality that needs urgent attention before it got out of hand.
Speaking to KNA in Kabarnet town office on Wednesday, Kitelit noted that most women were stigmatized and sufferred silently from the disease that has made them to even feel ashamed of pursuing treatment for the common but treatable medical condition.
“No mother should be ashamed in pursuing treatment since treatment and counselling services are available at our health facilities and we highly recommend early diagnosis before it can develop to another stage,” he warned.
Kitelit hinted that the condition is common in the county noting that every quarter, the Level Five hospital in Kabarnet receives over five cases and that the department has prioritized patients undergoing that kind of depression to avoid passing stress to the babies.
“When it comes to postpartum depression, we treat it with the seriousness it takes because the mother should be treated immediately in order to get well and attend to the baby who should not as a result be a victim of the condition,” he alluded
The doctor said the most affected areas were Marigat, Kinyach, Barwessa, Kapluk blaming poverty which raises stresses, high number of early pregnancies, and ignorance to family planning thus giving birth to more children making them prone to depression.
The psychiatrist stated that the most common influencers of the condition included lack of spousal support, unplanned pregnancy, prolonged labour, multiple pregnancies such as triplets and twins which brings about shock other than joy.
He emphasized on psychosocial support during the perinatal period from both family and surrounding community to mothers which prevents immediate or long-term mental health disorders.
He pointed out that there is much to be done in community sensitization on stigma and recognition of early signs of PPD in order to curb the condition.
Kitelit highlighted the signs and symptoms of the condition as feeling sad, changes in appetite and sleep, loss of energy, not enjoying things one did previously, feeling worthless, shame, feeling hopeless, restlessness, thoughts of suicide, and difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
He added that the most severe symptoms were those of difficulty in bonding with the baby, excessive crying, and fear of not being a good mother and in extreme situations, thoughts of harming the baby.
“Prevention is better than cure. Speak out and receive medication. We as a department are ready to serve you,” he said.
However, Kitelit has condemned communities that perceived PPD as witchcraft arguing out that it is a disease that has seen many women suffer and it needs to be put in limelight to reduce the number of victims.