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St John’s bemoans mental health problems in Mzimba

By Allan Nyasulu

Mwale: on average, Mzimba District Hospital attends to 48 mental health patients each day

Mzimba, August 18, Mana: St John of God College of Health Sciences (SJGCHS) in partnership with Seed Global Health (SGH) has bemoaned lack of intervention in mental health related issues at Mzimba District Hospital.

SJGCHS Dean of Academics and Coordinator for SGH, Catherine Mwale expressed the concern Tuesday during M’mbelwa District Council Executive Committee meeting.

She said the college conducted a comprehensive needs assessment at Mzimba District Hospital to identify gaps and advocate for provision of mental health services in Mzimba South.

 “From the data that we have, the district has more than 1,000 mental health patients on registry and on a daily basis, the hospital attends to not less than 48 patients,” Mwale added.

She said that there is no ward for mental health patients at the facility with a single person offering mental health care while other trained personnel trained in mental health are deployed in the general health departments.

The Dean added that common mental health disorders recorded at the hospital include induced substance, mood disorders, psychotic disorders secondary to general medical conditions and schizophrenia.

Mwale called for urgent attention to mental health problems in Malawi saying such disorders   affect the mental well being of a large population of all age groups.

“For instance, many people are living with severe stress and anxiety disorders due to economic hardships. This, perhaps, explains why we are registering a lot of suicide cases,” she said.

Director of Planning and Development (DPD) for M’mbelwa District Council, Walter Chikuni said there was need to enhance awareness of mental health related issues in the district, as a step towards addressing the situation.

“We need therefore to include mental health issues in the council’s social economic profile so that they can be thoroughly advocated for,” he said.

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