KARONGI - The Minister of Health, Dr Richard Sezibera, has cautioned the public against stigmatising mental health patients, calling for a wider awareness campaign on mental health.
He also warned those who take advantage and rape the mentally ill people, saying that it is illegal to take advantage of someone’s vulnerability.
He was last Saturday speaking at the national Mental Health Day commemoration in Karongi District.
“You should all treat mental health as a priority by helping patients to get immediate and effective treatment from recommended treatment centres,” Sezibera said.
Earlier, the Minister and a representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Jack Abdul, led residents in a march around Kibuye town to raise awareness on mental health.
Dr. Sezibera noted that curbing the worrying trend of mental health cases- which have increased by over five times in the past seven years- is everyone’s responsibility.
The Director of Kibuye Hospital, Dr Cyrille Dusengamungu, revealed that in a year they receive over 1800 mental health patients who mostly complain of mistreatment from relatives and members of the public.
“Most of these patients are not even registered with the local insurance scheme (mituelle de sante) while many are left to walk the streets without being attended to by relatives and medical personnel,” Dusengamungu said.