‘Sometimes life touches one person with a bouquet and another with a thorn bush, but the first may find a wasp in the flowers, and the second may discover roses among the thorns.”— Billy Graham.
TREATMENT and rehabilitation Centres in
Kenya have grown exponentially in the recent past. This is due to the fact that alcohol and drug abuse is a problem that is escalating in leaps and bounds.
The National Campaign Against Drug and Substance Abuse (NACADA) released the latest shocker, that school going children, as young as 4 years are abusing drugs!
Tobacco (41.9 per cent), Prescription drugs (27.8 per cent), Alcohol (25.9 per cent) and Miraa (23.1 per cent) were mentioned as the most available abused drugs and substances.
This is as 16.9 per cent of primary school pupils are using at least one drug or substance of abuse.
The portion of the pupils on prescription drugs stands at 7.2 per cent. Of those, 3.2 per cent are smoking tobacco, 2.6 per cent drinking alcohol and another 2.3 per cent chewing miraa.
The report notes that use of bhang, inhalants, heroin and cocaine are at below 1 per cent.
Data from the survey shows 20.2 per cent of primary school pupils have used at least one drug or substance of abuse in their lifetime.
Consequently, the increase in demand for treatment and rehabilitation services has over the years attracted many players, including individuals, NGOs. Faith Based Organizations, Civil Society, private and public institutions. Well, huge variations exist within these centres in terms of facilities, personnel competences, treatment options and costs.
It is in the view of this that NACADA has developed and is currently in the course of extensively previewing standards for residential and non residential treatment and rehabilitation facilities and programs for persons with substance use disorders.
These guidelines attempt to define minimum standards to be met within treatment and rehabilitation centres in Kenya. These include: rights and responsibilities of clients, levels of treatment, treatment centre management, and procedures for treatment centres management, staff training and proficiency etc.
But even with that spelt out in black and white, from all indications, the industry has grown with an influx of venture capitalist money and facility owner operators with no expertise or clinical experience to say the least, more and more such clinics are operating illegally, with the primary purpose of financial gain, rather than patient care.
Done right, drug addiction treatment can and has transformed lives, with a hugely positive impact on society. It is often the difference between life and death, or between a productive recovery and a life of despair. Yet all too often, that opportunity is being blown, thanks to the existence of unscrupulous or simply illegal rehabilitation centres in the country.
And that brings our focus of the day-the Office of the Rehabilitation and Services at NACADA and particularly, the one in charge, MRS. JUDY TWALA.
Who is JUDY TWALA?
History has taught us that it takes a special kind of leader with unique competences and skills to successfully build great organizations and teams.
At a time when uncertainty is being dealt with each day, one must take the time to celebrate success, this goes beyond acknowledgment-this is about taking a step back and reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you have learned throughout the journey.
Judy’s five secrets to success are simple but when adhered to, there is nothing you cannot achieve:
• Trust in God in all you do
• Remain focused
• Shun negativity
• Work hard and smart
And so, The Coast Counties Watch (CCW) celebrates another top trailblazer, a result oriented individual and a team player in every sense of the word!
From her stance and area of influence, Judy has shown that when a woman’s voice is heard, when she participates in decision making and when she exercises leadership, she most likely brings out something unique, special and of high value and quality to key decisions and its impact as we have seen and witnessed her do for the past three years at NACADA.
The objectives of Judy’s department are specific:
• To advise on the best practices and discipline of licensed rehab operators.
• To ensure professionalism in the treatment and rehabilitation of persons with substances use disorders.
• To provide guidelines and minimum requirements for service providers to ensure that the rights of persons with SUDs, otherwise known as addiction, and their families are protected.
• To define the basic services and procedures that every treatment and rehabilitation facility should provide to clients.
• To provide clear guidelines on intake, screening, assessment, placement, documentation, case management, treatment planning, discharge planning, and other core areas of treatment and rehabilitation.
• To define the basic services and procedures that every treatment and rehabilitation facility should provide to clients.
• To ensure clients seeking treatment and rehabilitation services get value for their money and the services rendered to them are cost-effective.
• To provide a basis for administrative and clinical supervision, monitoring and evaluation of treatment and rehabilitation procedures, services and facilities.
• To establish a basis for resource mobilization and medical insurance coverage.
“We are in the process of reviewing some of the guidelines for the national standards for treatment and rehabilitation for persons with substance disorders,”-JUDY
She is a team player…
So, the most successful leaders know all too well that their high-demand positions mean nothing if they cant influence others to believe in their mission.
Leaders are only as successful as their teams and the great ones know that with the right team dynamics, decisions and diverse personalities, everyone wins in the end.
Well, from Judy’s point of view, leadership is fundamentally about service, about a dying to self and loving others into their true potential.
The power of persuasion
Persuasion is a process that changes attitudes, opinions, or beliefs. It is the single most powerful skill a leader may possess and Judy understands that well.
Taking part in the adventure of persuading others, sweeping them up into an idea, an unexpected action is one of Judy’s most powerful strength that has led to some of her major achievements in a department that is responsible for ensuring that the set of standards for the regulation, guidance and monitoring of residential and non residential treatment and rehabilitation facilities and programs for persons with substance use disorders in Kenya are adhered to, to the latter.
The ability to create excitement all around you is what leadership is all about. She is eloquent, powerful, convincing, compelling and forceful. Her job is not for the faint of heart, but the outcome is inevitable.
“It is more about passion. I believe in the power of persuasion. It helps to focus on the response you hope to evoke rather than just what you want to say as a way to counter your own reluctance to ask others to change. Then again, laying out the response you want is a central part of good communication.”-JUDY
In her way of leadership, to create a change, to invent a new future, you have to be passionate and believe in an unproven idea and to even risk failure by pursuing it. Being the initiator, she has to find a delivery style that allows her to communicate her conviction in a compelling, inescapable way.
So, it is right to say when your goal is to have more impact, when the force of your idea will alter things, you have to deliver your message with such a high degree of fervor. You will need to deflect skepticism, shake away reluctance to embrace new ideas or break through indifference.
The fact that Judy is able to bring others around to her point of view….because she genuinely understands and cares about where others are coming from…so that people she is leading fell more understood, supported and valued, makes her one of a kind, and perhaps explains why she is admired, adored and loved by those around her, including her bosses, colleagues, friends and stakeholders.
The Big Four Agenda- Here is NACADA’s plan-JUDY
“The country seeks to achieve Universal Health Coverage for all by 2022. One of the key interventions is reducing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) associated to harmful use of alcohol and tobacco. Currently, the cost of NCDs accounts for over 50 percent of hospital admissions and more than 55 percent of deaths,
the Authority will work towards reversing the mortality and morbidity levels associated with alcohol and drug abuse by collaborating with NHIF and other medical insurance providers to
ensure that persons with SUDs including injecting drug users are able to access affordable medical care. This will also be achieved through working with NHIF in accrediting of additional treatment and rehabilitation facilities in the country,
to reduce cases of people with SUDs, the Authority shall continue to target prevention programs such as capacity building of primary health workers to identify and undertake initial interventions. Further, the Authority will continue to train and certify Addiction Professionals at the county level,
other efforts will be through targeted public education activities on the adverse effects of alcohol and drug abuse to delay initiation into the vice,
during the plan period, NACADA will focus on implementing policies, programs and projects as well as undertaking legal and institutional reforms to strengthen its role as a foundation for national transformation. This has the effect of unlocking potential growth and build the resilience of the economy and in order to support The Big Four Agenda,”
We celebrate Judy Twala too…and this is why…
A demanding and crucial department like the one Judy heads, that works well together, has the most success together.
“When you enjoy working with your colleagues and look forward to interacting with them, everyone enjoys. Working with other team members whom you have a great work relationship with can actually make work fun which leads to better productivity and better results, -JUDY.
Well, it explains why Judy will go an extra mile, take ownership of her job, a decision or a problem and work through it.
Those who know and work with her, from the top down, friends, family and stakeholders across counties are all in agreement that Judy has earned respect and admiration, thanks to her passion, team work, the desire to see change through executing her mandate the right way.
Judy has worked with Feed the Children, Kenya, Oasis Africa, Aga Khan Social Welfare Board, Centre for Victims, Torture Dadaab refugee camp before taking up her current job at NACADA.
And as CCW celebrates this top trailblazer, so do her colleagues, bosses, friends and even her loving family. We spoke to some of them and this is what they had to say:
Farida Rashid Seif, is a NACADA board member who also chairs the technical committee and she says Judy has been a great link between the board and management which is very crucial in achieving results.
“She is aggressive, respectful, a team player, passionate and I could go on and on. We work very well, closely and she is a super example of what the relationship between the board and the management should be like. I am personally very proud of her and so is the technical team. In our mandate, we require massive support from management Judy plays that role so well,”-FARIDA.
Her husband is her number one fan and support system.
“I am proud of her. I appreciate her resolve and commitment to work and especially in the passion she has in the fight against drug and alcohol abuse among young people. It is more of a calling for her, than a job and it did not start recently, all her university days, to her career life, her passion to serve among the disadvantaged is unrivaled. Her job has never affected her love for the family. We are always anchored in her busy schedules, going round the Counties, sensitizing communities or helping the vulnerable. Even when she is not home, she always finds time to know how we are. She is a loving and caring mom and a great wife too. We are proud and happy to be in her life and we will always support her endeavors,”-MR. TWALA.
“Yes, she is one of the best things that happened to NACADA. She brought a practical approach to the unfortunate menace and her experience makes her a true asset to NACADA,”-MRS TARAYIA, former board member, NACADA
“She is firmly soft. committed to treatment of individuals who do not know nor admit to sickness. She has been steadfast in ensuring this group of disfranchised individuals enjoy their right to health.I laud her for bringing me back to service even when i get annoyed by the system. Great girl she is,”-LILIAN, KISUMU.
“Judy Twala’s performance in her job is exemplary. I have known her since 2015 as a manager working under me. She is very effective. She has always exhibited determination, passion and creativity in her work. Moreover, she is an excellent team player,”-PROFESSOR MUTETI.
“She is very passionate about her work which is facilitating treatment and rehabilitation of persons with substance use disorders. Nothing would stop her from reaching out to those needy caseswhen its in her reach. She us free spirited and a go getter who wont stop until she accomplishes what she believes in. Asides from that, her mentoring skills are exemplary!,”-PAULINE, NACADA CEO’s Secretary,“
Judy the Counselor…
Someone once said “choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life!”
Well, passionate, dedicated and successful people like Judy understand that quote, only too well.
“My career at NACADA has been such an eye opener. Most Kenyans look at addiction as a moral issue…working in NACADA has broadened my understanding of addressing addiction as a primary health care issue,”-Judy.
She is passionate about helping people and her expertise as a drug and substance abuse counselor has changed many lives and given hope to thousands more. She has helped addicts and alcoholics get sober.
She provides the necessary support system for individuals recovering from addiction and this has seen many recover to lead sober lives again, an example being Anthony Ndegwa aka pintos, from Mukuru Nyayo.
His mum, Jane Wambui is grateful to Judy for leading her son, a recovered alcoholic who had lost direction of life from the tender age of 19.
“My son’s case was hopeless and we had no choice but admit him to the Mathare mental hospital for a long time until she (Judy) came along. She took her out of the mental institution and in six months, it was like a miracle, my son recovered fully. And now, at 32 years, he is even married. She sure was a life saver,”-Mama Wambui, mother of a recovered addict.
Some of her achievements at a glance…
• Collaborations with county governments to establish rehabs in 12 counties which will enhance affordability and accessibility of treatment for substance use disorders
• Training of medics on addiction science
• Mapping of relevant stakeholders all over the country
…and her newest plans…
• Establishing community-based treatment and rehabilitation programs.
• Community outreaches
• Holding forums with persons in recovery
Her parting shot?:
“Life is short and with this knowledge, I thank God for placing me in this office in such a time as this. I endeavor to continue touching lives of drug users and those in recovery and advocate for their lost dignity,”
From the Coast Counties Watch (CCW), we congratulate you Judy Twala for your achievements and the passion with which you continue to save lives. We wish you the best as you continue to undertake your mandate!
Have a nice one…Wont you?…