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Zimbabwe has no capacity to train psychiatric doctors

by Staff reporter
28 Mar 2017 at 14:42hrs | Views

THE country has no capacity to train psychiatric doctors at a time when the number of people suffering from mental illness is on the increase, the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Aldrin Musiiwa, has said.

The Deputy Minister said the number of Zimbabweans suffering from mental illness was now higher than a few years ago.

Responding to questions from The Chronicle yesterday, Dr Musiiwa said the country has 12 psychiatrists only.

He said Government was working to provide mental patients with drugs and necessary services they need.

"It's true that we have about 12 psychiatrists for our public health institutions which is not so much of a shortage though we could do with more. The problem we have as a country is that we only have the capacity of training psychiatric nurses and not doctors which has affected us a lot," said Dr Musiiwa.

"We have always relied on other countries for training and as we know Government salary scales are lower than other countries so it's very difficult to retain them. However, we have many psychiatric nurses in all our institutions to help contain the situation."

He said Government was working on programming for mental cases to strengthen its six mental institutions.

Dr Musiiwa said mental cases were on the increase.

He said mental problems were caused by a numbers of factors.

The use of illicit drugs and alcohol have been cited as some of the causes of mental illness.

Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) director Mr Itai Rusike said there was a need to mobilise resources to address the shortfall in specialist health workers.

"Poor wages and working conditions, the increased diseases burden and high demand for services as well as low staff motivation have exacerbated the situation," he said.

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Source - chronicle