Ethiopia: Hospital to Intensify Campaign On Mental Health

by Zelalem

St Amanuel Specialized Mental Hospital will hold awareness raising campaign on its mental health care services in the eastern part of the country next year.

Last year the hospital together with volunteers has campaigned in eleven towns in the north. The campaign was a success as hundreds of people with mental health problem living in the streets, were rehabilitated and reunited with their families, Dr. Dawit Asefa, General Manager of the Hospital told The Ethiopian Herald.

The campaign in the east would be extended and would engage the Ministries of Health and Labor and Social Affairs.

Dawit also stressed that the health sector is exerting maximum effort to enhance access to modern mental health care services. “The effort to establish Ethiopian Mental Health Institution in the newly built Kotebe General Hospital is an indicator of the vision to improve access to mental health care.”

In addition to the effects of khat and alcohol addiction as well as economic problem, the modern life style which promotes individualism at the expense of collectivism, is exposing people to mental health problems, according to him.

“However, the society could withstand these trend using different socio-cultural institutions such as Edir, Tswa Mahiber and Ekub (traditional community based self support and saving institutions) which bring people together to discuss and find solutions for their social problems. These institutions are keys in the effort to tackling mental health problems.”

Thus, the hospital has planned to expand its awareness creation programs into these institutions by involving the media and artists.

Even though mental health care service is improving from time to time in Ethiopia, ninety per cent of its people living with mental illness do not have access to mental health care due to low level of awareness by their families and the communities they live in, said Dr Dawit

The Kotebe General Hospital that has started pilot service months ago would be inaugurated next month.

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