Yesterday, Rwanda joined the world in commemorating World Mental Health Day. While our country has made remarkable progress after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, recent health statistics reveal that about 26 percent of the population still suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
With all the support this is a manageable condition in health facilities across the country.
The clinical setting of PTSD might not be evident to many Rwandans or lay persons since people rarely link it with common mental illnesses. In our Rwandan context it is however important to note that almost everyone who consults medical experts for those rare symptoms that affect their daily performance is diagnosed with PTSD.
Clearly, this indicates that it is a public health problem that should not be neglected.
Evident steps have been taken by the health ministry including, decentralisation of services to community level as well as 95 percent coverage of health insurance, in a bid to make access to health services, a guarantee.
However, in utilising these services citizens need to be sensitised on the symptoms of PTSD, and the available treatment and remedies.
It is a call for every citizen to utilise the available facilities if stronger generations are to be raised. Rwanda’s human resource base is one of the major pillars behind the realisation of her development goals.
Various organisations and associations of Genocide survivors who mainly need psychiatric care should endeavour to sensitise the public about the existence of these services.
As this year’s theme for the celebrations states, “Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Health,” let us seek to ensure that all those that need this care acquire it in order to increase access to the services.