The 2015 World Mental Health Day has been observed with a call on government to put in place polices that protect persons with mental disorders. The Supervisor of the Mental Health Department in Banso Baptist Hospital (BBH), Ms. Anya Ngo Nadege was speaking on Monday October 12, 2015 during commemoratives activities marking the World Mental Health Day on the theme “Dignity in mental health”.
Ms. Anya decried that mental health is not a priority in the public health sector in Cameroon reason why there is no policy protecting people with mental disorders in the country. She added that most medical personnel, families of people with mental problems and the society discriminate against people with mental problems. She called on everyone to treat people with mental problems with the dignity that they deserve because if properly attended to they will be very productive in the society.
She revealed that the scarcity of drugs for mental health patients has caused some of them to abandon their treatment. Given that the Mental Health Department in BBH is the first community mental health services in the Northwest Region, she said people have to travel from distant areas to come for treatment. Ms. Anya regretted that due to long distances some of their clients who need follow up during treatment are unable to sustain treatment to the end.
Launching the 23rd World Mental Health Day in BBH, the Mayor of Kumbo Njong Donatus Fonyuy acknowledged the confidence the CBC Health Services has bestowed on the Kumbo Municipality with the creation of the Banso Baptist Hospital (BBH) in 1949 which till date serves as an exemplary hospital with major preventive, curative and rehabilitation departments that provide quality health care to all. He noted that the creation of the mental health department in the hospital has benefited inhabitants of his municipality and beyond.
Mayor Njong commended the relationship between the Kumbo Municipality and the CBC Health Services through the Socio Economic of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) Programme since 2012. He highlighted that through the partnership agreements with the SEEPD Programme, the council has improved on its approach to disabilities by learning and including the concept of disability and inclusive development in education, health and provision of basic social amenities. The Mayor noted that mental health does not affect only individuals but it affects families and communities. Given that 1 in 4 people has mental health problems, he called on individuals to treat people with mental problems with love.
The CBC Director of Health Services (DHS), Prof Tih Pius Muffih through his speech that was read at the event said this year’s theme of the World Mental Health Day stems from the fact that people with mental health problems are deprived of basic human rights, stigmatized, marginalized and subjected to emotional and physical abuse in both mental health facilities and the community. The commemoration according to the DHS is a way to raise awareness on the rights of people with mental health problems.
Prof. Tih informed the public that the CBC Health Services has a functioning Mental Health Service at BBH which started in January 2015 with close to 10,000 people that have accessed the service and over 3000 already treated. He reiterated that the Mental Health Service is well-organized and meets the required standards making use of the Doctor and Psychiatric Nurses trained and licensed to prescribe psychotropic drugs to mental health patients. He added that the department has councilors from the Community Counseling Clinic and social workers for the psychosocial counselling aspect of the treatment.
The ceremony which brought together closed to 500 onlookers witnessed testimonies from few among the many who have been treated from mental and epilepsy problems.
The President of the Association of people with epilepsy, a group formed after the creation of the Mental Health Department in BBH called on the government to make their drugs available and at a subsidized rate so that they can sustain their treatment.
The representative of the Divisional Delegate of Social Affairs for Bui, Mrs. Tume Martha, called on persons with mental problems to come to her delegation where their medical certificates will be processed and disability cards issued to them with ease. She added that the disability cards will enable them gain free education.
The event was attended by among others the Administrator and Chief Medical Officer of BBH, Mr. Kangong Joce and Dr. Beri Ngong respectively and the Technical Adviser III to the CBC Director of Health Services.
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