Esinathy Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
ONE million people in Zimbabwe suffer from mental and neurological disorders, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo, has said.
As part of efforts to address the problem, the Health Ministry is now in the process of establishing a drugs and alcohol abuse rehabilitative centre at Ingutsheni Central Hospital in Bulawayo.
The Ministry is also spearheading the development of a Psycho Active Substance and Alcohol Policy to help reduce mental illnesses.
In a speech read on his behalf by Health Service Board (HSB) chairman Dr Paulinus Sikhosana during the Mental Health Awareness Campaign hosted by Ingutsheni Central Hospital at the City Hall car park last Friday, Dr Moyo said there is need for awareness campaigns so that communities appreciate mental health issues.
“One in four people worldwide have been affected by mental health or neurological disorders at some point in their life. 450 million people suffer from mental and neurological disorders worldwide. One million people in Zimbabwe suffer from mental and neurological disorders,” said the Minister.
“Despite the availability of treatment, nearly two thirds of persons with a known mental disorder never seek professional help. In most cases stigma, discrimination, neglect and limited knowledge prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental and neurological disorders, hence the need for awareness campaigns so that communities are empowered and they take an active role in reducing morbidity due to mental ill health.”
Dr Moyo said most people suffering from mental illness can be successfully treated in the comfort of their own homes as opposed to institutional care.
“The Ministry intends to increase community based mental health care programme such as the Friendship Bench, currently at Health metropolitan, so as to offer clients a community based environment for effectively dealing with depression,” he said.
“Children and the elderly best respond to care in familiar environments, this community based care is best for them. T
“his strategy is calling out for collaborative approaches with other stakeholders to assure integrated accessible and effective rehabilitative services.” − @esinathy_essira