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Health Minister Nazira Abdula says that, as a result of there being insufficient resources, about 75 percent of people with mental illness in Mozambique do not receive the medical care they need.
Abdula was speaking on Monday in Nampula, northern Mozambique, during the launch of the second phase of preparations for the integration of Mental Health in Primary Health Care, which brought together international partners and professionals.
“Integrating mental health services into primary care is the most feasible way to cover the treatment deficit and ensure that people receive the mental health care they need,” she said.
At this stage of the process, the main activities would be the training of multipurpose health agents and professionals involved in primary health care in the screening, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders at the community level.
Official figures indicate that, in 2018, 200,000 people with mental disorders were attended to throughout the country.
In Nampula province alone, in random approaches to a total of 482 people in three health posts for various reasons, 480 were found to be suffering from some form of mental disorder, 25% of them from depression.
“In this second phase, which will last 12 months, activities cover the provinces of Gaza (south), Sofala (centre) and Nampula (north of the country), and involve about 600 health professionals. The main message we want to convey is that mental health is everyone’s concern,” Abdula said.
According to Minister Abdula, if each health unit had at least one professional capable of identifying and treating mental illness, it would be possible to reduce the existing gap and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
“Community involvement and the intervention of multipurpose agents improve the scenario and allow closer monitoring of the patient,” she added.
“The partnership for the implementation of mental health in primary health care includes the specialised training of 11 professionals. Of these, nine are finishing their PhDs and two are taking Master’s degrees,” the minister said.
It is the responsibility of Mozambican specialists and partners to ensure that there is quality and scientific rigour in the expansion of the coverage of mental health services, in order to preserve the integrity and rights of patients and to ensure that all data resulting from this work are based in Mozambique.
Abdula said that the Ministry of Health had been working with several cooperation partners in recent years to create a single data platform in the country under government control.
In Mozambique, mental disorders are among the main causes of disability, accounting for about 25% of cases.Source: AIM Moçambique
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