Psychiatric morbidity in children and young persons admitted into an approved school in Nairobi
As in other parts of the World, the problem of juvenile delinquency seems to be on the increase and is currently causing a lot of concern not only to the authorities but also to teachers, parents and health workers. Since it is known that juvenile delinquency can be a symptom or a result of emotional disturbance in the adolescent, this study was designed to investigate possible psychiatric disorders in children committed to an Approved School in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as to describe the socio~demographic background of such children with the overall objective of making recommendations to the Children's department, depending on-the findings. E very other child in the Approved school was randomly selected from the school Register and examined by the author. The main findings were: - (1) 2458% of the children had psychiatric illne'3s2s mainly the psychcneuroses. (2) The majority of the children were physically healthy and those with physical illnees (i. e. 16.4 %) had mainly Upper Respiratory Tract Infection which is usually common in Kenya during the cold months of the year. (3)· The majority psychiatric illnesses i.e. Schizophrenia, affective psychosis and epilepsy constituted only 1.2% each. (4) Contrary to findings elsewhere, the majority of the children came from intact, though large families (65% of the parents were married a: the time of the study). It is recommended that a multidisciplinary approach towards dealing with juvenile delinquency together wit~ decentralization of services for such children along Primary Health Care cencepts and the setting up of a Juvenile Court in each District in the country would be more beneficial to the children.