19 March 2017

Ethiopia: Mental Health Care Within Reach

To any person with mental illness, unable to get affection from their closer circles inflicts much pain than the illness itself.

According to information from Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital (AMSH), 90% of persons with the illness not only get stigmatized, they do not also receive medical attention in Ethiopia.

Speaking at a three-day media forum Saturday, AMSH General Manager Dr. Dawit Asefa described stigma as a critical challenge to mental health care services. "Those who get proper medical attention are not over one percent and most patients are made to visit hospitals after three or four kinds of 'unsuccessful' traditional [treatments]." Nowadays, the government is taking various measures in raising community awareness and accessing mental care services, he noted.

The newly built Kotebe General Hospital is part of the effort, Dawit said seizing the opportunity to announce the launching of pilot services at Kotebe three weeks ago.

When it goes fully operational, the hospital provides internal medicine, gynecology and pediatric services, which relate directly or indirectly to mental illness.

Furthermore, the hospital has made services available at 20 health centers in Addis Ababa. "The health centers are also provided with adequate supply of medicines."

He also indicated that AMSH has initiated the establishment of Ethiopian Mental Health Institution, a center of excellence in the area. The manager also expressed conviction as construction of Institution building would strike 80% by the end of the current fiscal year.

Kotebe General Hospital and the Institution constructions worth 100 million Birr and nearly 98 million Birr respectively.


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