By Ronald Kabuye
Ministry of health permanent secretary Dr. Diana Atwine has attributed the increased number of people suffering from mental health problems to alcohol and drug abuse.
Speaking during the monthly ministry’s media breakfast meeting in Kampala, Atwine called for a total ban of alcohol packed in sachets and ful implementation of the tobacco control act which stops people from smoking in public.
She says the two have not only contributed to the highest cases of mental health illnesses, accidents but has also affected the entire health systems and increased the crime and death rates in the country.
Dr David Basangwa the executive director of Butabika hospital revealed that alcohol and drug abuse cases account for 30% of the cases followed by depression, eclipse and communicable and non communicable diseases.
He says on the daily basis Butabika hospital treats 850 in patients and 150 out patients yet it operates on the small budget of 12.5 billion which is below the required 18 billions in addition to being under stuffed with only four pyschiarcists.
Dr. Hafisa Lukwata highlighted the need for more doctors for mental health since the country only has 30 pyschiarcists, 427 Pyschiarcists clinical officers and 700 psychiatrist nurses.
However to curb the gap the ministry intergrated mental health in all public health centres. in addition to giving pre service training to all medical students and inservice training to the medical officers.
They all appealed to the public not discriminate and isolate those suffering from mental illness since its a normal disease just like others.