The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) and the Chiromo Hospital Group (CHG) have entered into a Service Agreement through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will see the Level 5 specialized mental health hospital extend its services to Kenyan athletes in a joint campaign dubbed Tufunguke Wanaspoti.
The purpose of the MOU is to establish a collaborative agreement between NOC-K and CHG in the provision of promotive, preventive, and curative mental health services to Kenyan sportsmen and women.
Tufunguke Wanaspoti will see the sportsmen and women trained on how to identify, control and manage mental health-related conditions; build awareness by way of structured mental health talks as well as carry out digitized self-mental health wellness assessments.
“This is a very defining moment for us at the National Olympic Committee of Kenya because we are marking another milestone in our partnership development with strategic stakeholders that add value to our athletes and assist them to perform optimally in their specialties,” remarked NOC-K’s Secretary-General, Francis Mutuku.
Mr. Mutuku assured the Hospital Group that was represented by the C.E.O Mr. Vincent Hongo during the signing ceremony, that NOC-K shall mobilize and facilitate its members for the critical services of mental health awareness talks and wellness through conferences and online platforms and other related ways towards the continuous sensitization on psychosocial matters.
During the recently held Tokyo 2020 Olympics, NOC-K enhanced the services to the athletes by providing a range of technical personnel to complement the work of coaches and other athlete entourage teams in the areas of sports science, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and sports psychology, among others.
The first deputy president Mr. Shadrack Maluki, representing the NOC-K president, expressed his gratitude on his behalf for the partnership in such a great initiative.
“This actually is a bit late and should have come much earlier, Mr. Waithaka Kioni was in-charge of Tokyo Team Kenya as the Chef De Mission and can attest to the importance of a healthy mind alongside a strong physique.
The pressure to perform will be big this year with the Commonwealth Games and Africa Youth Games around the corner.”
NOC-K and Chiromo Hospital Group have already begun working in collaboration and started with a seminar of sports administrators from federations trained on safeguarding athletes during the administration courses and workshop where mental health issues were addressed.
The CEO Mr. Vincent Hongo spoke on the stigma and discrimination around mental health issues and having a support system, vital to all athletes and releasing the importance of the mental wellness program.
The entry of Chiromo Health Group is expected to provide sustainable and reliable support to Team Kenya and the sportsmen and women in general for mental health and wellness, which is considered a critical component for a balanced life in and out of play.
Kenya Hockey Union is a member of NOC-K.