Dr Sacrifice Chirisa, Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC)’s Mental Health Deputy Director has said the effects of the coronavirus have exposed the need to seriously invest in mental health.
In his remarks on October 10 which marks the Mental Health Day, Dr Chirisa called for enhanced awareness at all levels. He said:
We are dealing with a pandemic that exposed, created and unravelled a lot of mental health issues to patients, caregivers, health practitioners literally everyone across the world.
As we commemorate this day we are really pushing now for serious investments into mental health care because we have seen that when it is not taken care of and crisis hit, people are really affected. This year we are really calling for government, private sector to really consider and acknowledge mental health as a priority.
When you look at mental health programming within Zimbabwe, traditionally like anywhere else in the world, it has been poorly funded over the years. Our psychiatric hospitals are dilapidated, and we have very few specialised cadres.
His remarks were echoed by the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Country Representative Dr Alex Gasasira who said mental health is one of the most neglected condition world over.
Meanwhile, WHO is working with governments to review mental health legislation and related policies, to build capacities using the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (MH-Gap).
Zimbabwe is one of the six countries selected to be part of the WHO Director-General’s Special Initiative for Mental Health to strengthen these services.
More: Health Times