State to employ more mental health experts

State to employ more mental health experts

THE Ministry of Health has pledged that efforts are underway to strengthen provision of mental care services countrywide. Deputy Minister for the docket, Dr Godwin Mollel said the ministry will ensure that more health workers specialized in mental health are recruited.

Dr Mollel made the statement in the House yesterday during the question and answer session. He said the government has continued to hire more social workers for hospitals, wards and health centres so as to help address social challenges through provision of psychosocial support.

Dr Mollel was responding to a question posed by Mr Michael Mwakamo (Kibaha Rural) who wanted to know the government’s plans to establish special units to serve mental health patients in district hospitals in the country.

The lawmaker said the mental health services in the country were facing many challenges due to shortage of workers and units to serve the patients, something which calls for interventions to improve the services.

In response, the deputy minister said that the government has mental health coordinators in 175 district hospitals as well as having a special department to support patients with mental health challenges.

“We are working on strengthening efforts and invest more in public awareness programmes on mental health as well as improving provision of health services to patients,” Mollel explained.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Tanzania mental health profile of 2017 estimates the burden of mental illness in terms of disability-adjusted life years at 2,727.86 per 100,000 population and suicide mortality rate at 5.4 per 100,000 population.

The Mirembe national mental hospital has been serving a number of people with mental challenges with the government promising to continue improving the facility but also improve psych-social support in all hospitals.

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