Rwanda will today join other countries in commemorating World Mental Health Day.
According to officials in the Ministry of Health, the celebrations that will be held in the Western Province under the theme “Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Health” will be graced by the Health Minister, Dr. Richard Sezibera.
In relation to Rwanda’s performance over the years, health experts have noted that statistics of mental health consultations have increased from 3,000 in the year 2000 to 16,000 in 2007.
“Major reasons attributed to this increase include, decentralization of available services to the community level and increased access to health insurance among others,” Dr. Achor AIT Mohand, a psychiatrist who offers support to the National Programme on Mental Health told The New Times.
With reference to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Mohand recently noted that a big number of people in the country still face post traumatic stress disorder and need immediate mental health care.
“The government recently introduced a national policy on mental health which increased availability of these services. As a result Rwanda is a leader in mental health care provision in comparison to other countries in the region,” he added.
“A good number of people out there need these services but may not know that indeed they (services) are readily available at almost all district hospitals.As such we must ensure effective awareness if mental health cases are to go down,” Simon Nsabiyeze, a psychosocial programme officer.
Dr. D. Munyandamutsa recently carried out a study on post traumatic stress disorder and found that 28.54 percent of the 1,000 people sampled were confirmed to have mental problems.
Officials said that this shows that about 2.7 million Rwandans have these problems. Other related problems raised include epilepsy which has a prevalence of 4.9 percent, implying that 400,000 people have it.