Men­tal health pol­icy task team set up

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS -

THE min­istry of health has since ap­pointed seven peo­ple to work on draft­ing a men­tal health pol­icy that will be sub­mit­ted to Cab­i­net for dis­cus­sion within the next six months.

The ap­point­ment was made by the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Health Dr Si­mon Zwane at The Ge­orge Ho­tel dur­ing the com­mem­o­ra­tion of World Men­tal Health Day. The PS said the coun­try needs a pol­icy ded­i­cated to men­tal health.

Zwane said the lack of a Men­tal Health Pol­icy in the coun­try was an em­bar­rass­ment.

He said that was why the min­istry had since de­cided to ap­point in­de­pen­dent in­di­vid­u­als who will work on fi­nal­is­ing the is­sue of the pol­icy.

Zwane said in six months’ time, the pol­icy should be ready for dis­cus­sion at Cab­i­net. Worth not­ing is that this is not the first time the is­sue of men­tal health pol­icy has been raised. In­ter­na­tional Men­tal Health Re­source Ser­vices (IMERSE) which is the only non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion fo­cused on pro­mo­tion of men­tal health and pre­ven­tion of men­tal dis­or­ders in the coun­try once raised this is­sue.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion re­vealed that lit­tle was known about men­tal health in Eswa­tini, but there were in­di­ca­tors that many Emaswati suf­fer from men­tal dis­or­ders. The or­gan­i­sa­tion stated that men­tal health ser­vices in Eswa­tini were lim­ited as only one psy­chi­a­trist ser­vice the en­tire coun­try.

“The Na­tional Psy­chi­atric Re­fer­ral Hos­pi­tal in Manzini, in the cen­tral part of the coun­try, is the only gov­ern­ment en­tity in the coun­try that of­fers men­tal health ser­vices,” part of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s re­port reads. It also stated that there were

no on­go­ing men­tal health re­fresher cour­ses, work­shops, and con­fer­ences avail­able to psy­chi­atric staff. The re­port fur­ther points out that many pri­mary health work­ers lack ba­sic knowl­edge on men­tal health, with ma­jor­ity of clin­ics hav­ing no man­u­als on how to man­age and treat men­tal dis­or­ders. The or­gan­i­sa­tion also pointed out that there was no men­tal health pol­icy in Eswa­tini, and the men­tal health leg­is­la­tion was out­dated, hav­ing last been re­vised in 1978.

SPEECH: Min­istry of Health Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Dr Si­mon Zwane de­liv­er­ing his speech dur­ing the event.

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