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WHO capaciates gvt to decongest mental health institutions

Health
WHO technical officer Debra Machando

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Association of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities (NAPPD) have introduced quality rights e-training on mental health recovery and community inclusion to combat stigma, and discrimination to promote human rights.

Speaking at the Parirenyatwa Medical School in Harare on Friday, WHO technical officer Debra Machando said quality rights e-training would help in addressing mental health illness at the facility level, adding that only severe cases would be treated in institutions.

WHO is working through the Health ministry to transform mental health services in Zimbabwe. The thrust is to move mentally-challenged patients from institutional care so that they could be taken care of at home.

“Quality rights training aims to bring out awareness and to help people have an appreciation on how they can treat persons with psychosocial disabilities to reduce stigma and discrimination,” Machando said.

She said they were working with government, other mental health partners and stakeholders to ensure that people can be treated in their communities, in the comfort of their homes.

Machando said that this was a long-term process since a lot of work was involved, including transforming mental health services as most mental health services are concentrated in Harare.

“WHO is rolling out mental health interventions that help to bridge that gap. We have a programme called problem-solving therapy which we are rolling out plus MHgap which is a tool that builds the capacity of health workers to be able to identify and treat mental health conditions at facility level with different stakeholders,” she said.

Federation of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities in Zimbabwe vice-chairperson Taurai Kadzviti, who is also National Association of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities deputy chairperson, said the training helps in giving dignity to mental health patients.

“This training gives the right terms when referring to persons with disabilities. It gives some kind of respect to one’s being as a human being, and gives opportunity to address certain aspects of our current legislation  where we have gaps,” he said.

“We hope that as many people with disabilities train and capacity build when it comes to issues of quality rights mental health in Zimbabwe l urge all persons to undertake this training as it is rich in content, knowledge, legislation and rights.”

Kadzviti said statistics that talked about persons with disabilities were between plus or minus 7% of the total population, and if they could achieve about 3% of the population, it could contribute meaningfully in terms of quality rights.

“We are making sure we cascade this training to remote areas of Zimbabwe as the majority population lives in rural areas and encourage them to cooperate,” he added.

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