Mental health policy task team set up
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organisation also pointed out that there was no mental health policy in Eswatini, and the mental health legislation was outdated, having last been revised in 1978.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.