Mental Health system to be strengthened

DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, August 08, 2017

In an effort to strengthen the public health system, the Ministry of Public Health expended $10.8B of the $31.2B budgeted in the first half of 2017. More than 95 percent of the amount was recurrent expenses.  While the capital expenditure at mid-year expended 12 percent of the $3.1B budgeted.

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence.

The Ministry of Public Health through the Mental Health Unit highlighted that mental health issues continue to affect the society and at mid-year, there were 59 reported cases of suicide.

According to the Ministry of Finance’s mid-year report, the training of health professionals on mental health is on-going, and 106 of the 300 targeted individuals have completed training this year.

It was highlighted that the mental health institute is working to ensure at least 50 percent of non-specialised health care providers in Guyana, are trained to address mental health issues. The unit has recognised that it would be more effective to identify and treat with mental illnesses at the primary health care level. It was noted that farming communities need to be targeted due to easy access to pesticides and the high suicide rates from persons living those communities.

According to the report, the mental health institute currently under renovation is expected to be completed in the second half of the year. Also, an additional sum of $312.2M of the budgeted $2 billion was expended for the improvement and maintenance of health infrastructure across the country.

As part of its efforts to help low and middle-income countries like Guyana combat the scourge of suicide, WHO developed the Mental Health Gap Action Programme [mhGAP]. mhGAP is aimed at scaling up services for people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders. The training of these professionals using the mhGAP-IG standard stems from initiatives outlined in the National Mental Health Action plan 2015-2020 which addresses mental health at the community level. The Ministries of Agriculture, Education and Social Protection are all expected to play important roles in spreading awareness to targeted groups countrywide.

Guyana was announced the fourth highest suicide rate in the world with an estimated 29.0 per 100,000 by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO).

Dr. William Adu-Krow, the local representative of the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) said that, while in 2012 Guyana had that disturbing suicide rate, the rate has since plummeted to 20.6 per 100,000 people.


By: Neola Damon


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