Psychiatrists Demand More Focus on Mental Treatment

Mental Health experts are challenging African governments to increase funding for trauma and other mental personality disorders as a way of eliminating interminable fighting on the continent.  

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Ugandan Psychiatrist Dr. Etheldreda Nakimuli Mpungu says countries need to plan, budget and see trauma and mental health as critical issues that need to be given priority now that conflicts are rising from different corners of the world.

The call was made during the 7th, PAN Africa psychotrauma conference held at Lake View Hotel in Mbarara town yesterday.

The annual conference was initiated in 2003 in honor of Peter C Alderman, one of the victims of the September 11 Terror attack on the world trade Centre.  It seeks to help survivors of terrorism and mass violence to heal their emotional wounds.

Nakimuli, the African Programme Director at Peter C Alderman Foundation also challenged governments especially in Africa to integrate trauma management services in health service provision. She also observes a need for experience in trauma management for all health workers.

Moses Wankiiri, the founder, community psychiatric support organization also called on Governments to put mechanism in place to have mentally ill patients collected from the communities to treatment centers and later resettled back in their families.

Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, the National Mental Health Coordinator says despite the enormous challenges they face on addressing issues of mental health and trauma, they have been constrained by the meager budget allocation.

Dr. Mark Van Ommeran, the focal point person for mental health and psychosocial support at the World Health Organization says trauma and mental health remains a big challenge worldwide.

He observed that countries should work towards achieving the World Health Organization Mental Health Action Plan that seeks among others to have an updated law for mental health in line with international and regional human rights instruments.

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