Mental health short of specialists - official

A revelation by a medical personal at Ndera Hospital has painted the dark picture of the state of mental health in the country.

A revelation by a medical personal at Ndera Hospital has painted the dark picture of the state of mental health in the country.

According to the hospital director, Dr. Rafael Gasizingwa, the country only has five psychiatrists in the country. 

In an exclusive interview with The New Times, Gasizingwa, said most of the work was being done by clinical officers and nurses since the specialist doctors were few.

He explained that 45 percent of the population suffer from various psychiatric disorders. Of these, 15 percent require treatment from mental health units.

”We really have a huge problem of having few psychiatrists and this has resulted to one psychiatrist working on over 25 patients,” said Gasizingwa.

He added that a specialist doctor is supposed to work on at least seven patients per day.

Gasizingwa revealed that there were 31,125 patients last year but only 3,463 were treated by specialist medical staff.

The medic noted that most medical students in Rwanda don’t opt for psychiatry because it takes long to qualify.
When contacted, the Minister of Health, Richard Sezibera also confirmed the need for more psychiatrists, adding that the ministry is planning to train a team of psychiatrists and send them to serve upcountry in order to reduce the pressure at Ndera hospital.

He added that the ministry is working with the Faculty of Medicine at the Rwanda National University to train medical students and senior nurses on issues of mental health.

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