KIGALI - A Ministry of Health official has called for more attention towards mental healthcare needs.
While addressing the press at TRAC Plus headquarters, ahead of Mental Health Day that is marked on October 10, Yvonne Kayiteshonga said that there was need to advocate for active national and corporate support towards mental health care needs.
“We need to highlight the role of clinical leaders and champions among primary and specialty care physicians who will advocate for the need to manage both the physical and mental health care needs of patients,” she said.
“This call needs to ensure that mental health is integrated with the care of physical health concerns for people attending to both primary and specialty medical care”.
She added that, mental, neurological and behavioural disorders are common in all countries and cause immense suffering. People with these disorders are often subjected to social isolation, poor quality of life and increased mortality, these disorders are the cause of staggering economic and social costs.
“Mental illnesses affect and are affected by chronic conditions such as cancer, heart and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Untreated, they bring about unhealthy behaviour, non-compliance with prescribed medical regimens, diminished immune functioning, and poor prognosis,” she stressed.
Kayiteshonga underscored that, the tragedy is that they are not being implemented. Much needs to be done; people need to have a better understanding of symptoms and possible treatment.
She pointed out that providers and physicians need to have better training and support, adding that medical schools need to incorporate integrated treatment of mental illnesses more explicitly.