Frontline staff of the CBC Health Services have received skills on Psychological First Aid (PFA) during crises period. The 2-day training organized with support from Australian Aid through the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) and the HIV Free programs held at the Baptist Center Nkwen, Bamenda from July 9-10, 2020.
Opening the workshop, the Director of CBC Health Services (DHS), Prof. Tih Pius Muffih painted the crisis situation that has rocked the two regions for the past four years, now compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which the whole world is struggling with. These crises he added, has left many patients traumatized. It is against this backdrop that the workshop was necessary to train frontline staff who receive patients on daily basis so that they will be able to provide them with the right psychological care.
Coaching the participants, the lead facilitator and Supervisor of Mental Health Services in the CBC Health Services, Mr. Ngwen Franklin noted that the psychological care given to patients will vary depending on how they present in the hospital, thus, it was necessary for the staff to get a full package on the first aid so that they will be able to meet the needs of the patients at all times.
Speaking to CBCHS Communication Unit reporter Fru Rita Ngum, Ngwen Franklin revealed that thanks to AUSAID, the mental health nurses have been provided with 9 smart phones. “By the end of the training, participants will be able to provide sustainable PFA to themselves, other frontline staff, patients, caregivers and community at large especially within the context of COVID-19. They will equally be able to give sound Mental Health education and sensitization to the public to reduce the psychological impact of COVID-19”. Mr. Ngwen added that psychiatric nurses will equally be provided with communication credit to facilitate support to these frontline staff as well as provide remote PFA.
According to the SEEPD Program Manager, Awa Jacques Chirac, the phones are intended to facilitate the work of the mental health nurses who are also expected to provide PFA to identified patients via phones. This is to ensure that no one is left out of the process, he reiterated. The workshop was therefore an opportunity to train the staff on the importance of the phones and how to use it so that as they return to their health facilities, there will be a great impact of the phones on patient.
Prior to the workshop, Ngwen Franklin in a radio interview, called on the government and other health agencies to factor a budget for mental health given that over the years and even with this pandemic period, little attention is given to mental health which has led to increase in the number of patients with mental health that visit the clinic.
The workshop brought together 30 COVID-19 frontline staff chosen from all major CBC Health Services facilities in seven regions of the country.