Relief for mental health patients

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has launched a pilot project in Harare which will see the doctors’ voluntary organisation offering care and support to individuals with mental health problems.


MSF head of mission for Zimbabwe Abi Kebra Belaye said the community psychiatry model at 13 polyclinics in Harare would allow mental patients to get access to treatment, care and support closer to their homes.

“There is need for authorities and donors to avail funds to purchase psychotropic drugs to ensure that there is a constant supply and also ensure that patients in the rural areas also have access to medicine like any other disorders,” she said during the launch on Monday.

Various mental health institutions in the country highlighted the barriers that people continue to face to obtain essential mental health treatment and care.

“The main challenges that the sector is facing include shortage of psychotropic drugs, lack of human and financial resources, lack of appropriate mental healthcare facilities, lack of decentralised treatment, care and support, stigma and discrimination and lack of mental health education, among other things,” said the institutions in a statement.

According to the Health and Child Care ministry, more than 1,3 million people in the country have mental disorders. Despite the huge numbers, mental health remains neglected as there are few humanitarian actors that focus on it.


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