Malawi lagging behind in mental care

Lack of resources is said to be a major obstacle in caring for mentally challenged persons in the country.

A survey conducted by Youth Net and Counselling YONECO, in three districts of Zomba, Lilongwe and Nkhotakota has shown that in most hospitals they are under staffed and also lack experts in mental health care.

Speaking to YFM, YONECO consultant Dr Collen Kalua said the major courses of mental illness in the country are unemployment, Cannabis Sativa and early marriages.

“In all the three districts, lack of employment, drug and substances abuse and teenage marriages are said to be a major cause of mental illness in the country.”

“The critical challenge is that most visited hospitals do not have enough resources like drugs as well as health expert that can handle people with mental illness,” Dr Kalua added.

Reacting to the report, Director of Mental Health Services in Malawi Immaculate Chamangwana commended YONECO for the well detailed report.

Chamangwana said they know all these problems and as government they will solve accordingly.

“We are much aware of all the problems that we face but I can assure you that government and other stakeholders we are doing all we can to overcome all these challenges,”Chamangwana said.

Chamangwa however added that they will train health expert’s especially in rural hospitals so that other mental patients can be treated at the community level.

In Malawi there are only two hospitals for people suffering from mental illness which are Zomba mental hospital and St John’s Hospital in Mzuzu.

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