Global Mental Health: Challenges, Prospects and opportunities in Uganda.
Mental Illness Contributes significantly to the Global burden of disease and affects the productivity of Individuals worldwide. Around the world, more than 450 million people suffer from mental disorders and 1 in 4 people are expected to suffer from mental illness in their lifetime. This makes mental illness one of the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. 75% of the patients with mental illness live in low-income countries where access to the appropriate intervention is scarce.
Global Mental Health challenges is an initiative that places priority on improving and achieving equity of mental health care for all people worldwide. This Strategy includes identifying needs of countries and developing cost-effective interventions to improve mental healthcare delivery in the respective countries.
The global movement includes partnerships and networks of individuals & organisations that aim to improve services for people living with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities globally, especially in low- and middle-income countries where communities are most underserved.
Mental Health: Uganda Case
In Uganda, mental health is recognised as a serious public health and development concern. A large percentage of the population has faced several predisposing factors like Traumatic events in armed conflicts, substance abuse, and neglected Neurocognitive disorders. This has created an increased burden of mental illness with prevalence estimated at 35%.
Host to the World’s largest refugee populations, Uganda Continues to carry the regional burden of Conflict and its long-term effects on the population including Mental Illness. The Country, therefore, has an unmet need for its citizens and refugees from several countries.
Significant efforts have been made to ensure increased access to primary and referral services for Mental Health, prevention and management, psychosocial disorders and common neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Part of the efforts to scale up Mental Health includes policy formulation, capacity building, scaling up of Mental Health services across the country among others.
Despite the progress, there are still existing challenges in the delivery of comprehensive mental health care. The challenge of Human Resource is one of the major challenges to the population of practicing psychiatrists about 0.08 per 100,000 population. There is also lack of resources to support scaling of mental health services, awareness, and several Structural challenges.
These challenges require initiative and collaboration with individuals, agencies, institutions and development partners that are keen to advance equitable access to mental Healthcare.
The United Kingdom has been one of the development Partners that have consistently supported Mental Health services in Uganda. Other British based NGOs continue to do independent work in scaling up mental health Services in the country.
Through the Uganda UK Health Alliance consortium on Mental Health, several Organisations are collaborating on common activities to scale up mental health, a number of mental health Professionals from the UK have been supported to work & volunteer in Uganda and several institutional links have been formed.
UUKHA is committed to further consolidate these efforts in improving Uganda’s mental healthcare delivery. We, therefore, continue to support UK Organisations doing work in Mental Health, professional exchange, and Volunteering, new collaboration, and partnerships between UK institutions and Uganda among others.