MoH gears up to support trauma victims during commemoration

With activities to mark the 21st commemoration of the Genocide against the Genocide slated to begin next week, the Ministry of Health has announced that its staff and volunteers will be at hand to offer psychological support to all trauma victims.
Redcross volunteers and residents of Bugesera carry away a traumatised patient during the 2008 commemoration. (File)
Redcross volunteers and residents of Bugesera carry away a traumatised patient during the 2008 commemoration. (File)

With activities to mark the 21st commemoration of the Genocide against the Genocide slated to begin next week, the Ministry of Health has announced that its staff and volunteers will be at hand to offer psychological support to all trauma victims.

The commemoration period, which runs for a week starting April 7, has historically been characterised with a spike in cases of trauma.

According to the ministry, over 3,000 cases of trauma were recorded during last year’s commemoration events.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Dr Yvonne Kayitenshonga, the head of mental health division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), said they have trained different agents in communities and set up a committee that will coordinate the support.

Kayiteshonga said 28 per cent of Rwandans have mental disorders, according to statistics, and cited Genocide among the major causes.

She said 68 per cent of those who suffered trauma last year had short emotional reactions which were treated instantly, while 32 per cent had severe stress reactions that required medical attention.

“Among the 3,094 trauma victims last year, 81 per cent were female and this is largely attributed to rape that was rampant during the Genocide,” she said.

Nancy Claire Misago, a worker from the mental health division at RBC, said they have trained 50 mental health nurses, 150 Rwanda Red Cross agents and 200 members of the association of students who survived the Genocide ahead of this year’s commemoration period.

This year’s anniversary is being held under the theme: “Fighting Genocide denial beyond the Rwandan borders”.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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