Government has embarked on a revitalisation of mental health integration in primary health care, in response to the commitment made at the Ouagadougou Declaration, with the launch of Guidelines and Treatment Protocols for mental health patients.In the 1980s Zimbabwe was credited with pioneering the integration of mental health in primary health, providing the best coverage of mental health care approaches.
However, a progressive decline was recorded from the 90â€™s and in an effort to revitalise the sector, a new book of guidelines for the management of common mental disorders in primary health care has been launched.
Addressing people who converged to witness the launch of the book in Harare, Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Henry Madzorera said although some progress had been registered in the promotion and protection of people suffering from mental illnesses, economic hardships have resulted in the stagnation of most programmes, hence the need to revitalise the sector.
People suffering from mental disorders usually suffer in silence with some being isolated by their families.
World Health Organisation country representative, Dr Custodia Mandhlate said her organisation remains committed to partnering the Zimbabwean government in various health programmes that benefit the majority.
The book will be used as a tool by health workers at primary health care level to deal with common mental health disorders.
Currently, the exact prevalence of mental disorders in the country is unknown and government is in the process of seeking funds to conduct a baseline survey in all the 62 districts of the country.
The United Nations General Assembly has laid down some UN principles which stipulate that there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of mental illness and every patient shall have the right to be treated in the least restrictive environment.