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Mental Health Week: Consider patients from remote areas as well

by Mncedisi Nyathi
13 May 2021 at 10:12hrs | Views
As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating Mental Health Week, there is need to focus on the overwhelming number of psychiatric patients in remote areas like Tsholotsho.

"Tsholotsho has hundreds of patients suffering from different types on mental illnesses that include schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and depression," said Sukoluhle Mathema, the Secretary General of Multi Sparks Action Trust (MSAT), a non-governmental organisation headquartered and based in Tsholotsho.

"Chronic poverty, effects of HIV and AIDS, economic collapse, unemployment and COVID-19 are some of the elements that have given rise to mental ailments in this region," bemoaned Mathema.  

She pleaded with the business community and well-wishers to extend a helping hand in raising foreign currency to purchase drugs for psychiatric patients who cannot afford medication.

"As Multi Sparks, we want to compliment the government's National Mental Health Strategic Plan (2019 – 2023) by organising parallel funds to help people suffering from mental illness. We also appeal to the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Department of Mental Health to consider establishing a fully equipped psychiatric hospital in Tsholotsho," said Mathema.

A survey done by MSAT also discovered that sometimes mentally ill people are taken to traditional healers who then do a poor diagnosis and perform unhelpful procedures and give out wrong prescriptions. The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (ZINATHA) noted this trend and embarked on educating its members on referring of psychosomatic and anxiety disorders patients to formal health institutions.

Source - Mncedisi Nyathi