Audrey Rundofa and Sibongile Maruta
Government has commended Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) for reducing mental health prevalence and new incidences, as well as scaling up availability of antipsychotic drugs over the years.
MSF efforts in reducing mental health prevalence cover Harare Central Hospital Psychiatric Unit, Harare City Health Department and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS).
Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa praised MSF in a speech read on his behalf by the principal director (curative services), Dr Sydney Makarau, during the organisation’s stakeholder presentation held in Harare last week.
Dr Parirenyatwa said MSF’s support had seen continuous reduction in both the HIV prevalence and HIV/TB incidence rates since 2006.
“The giant strides in providing treatment have been strong and resilient, engendering continuous reduction in both the HIV prevalence and HIV/TB incidence rates,” he said.
“My Government highly commends MSF’s efforts in significantly reducing mental health prevalence and new incidents, as well as scaling up availability of antipsychotic drugs over the years in the ZPCS, Harare Central Hospital Psychiatric Unit and Harare City Health Department.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said the major objective of the project was to improve access to care for the underserved population of patients with severe psychiatric disorder.
Other projects by MSF include water and sanitation in Harare, one-stop HIV/TB and primary health services to returned migrants in Beitbridge and treatment, care and support for non-communicable diseases in Manicaland.
MSF head of missions Ms Abi Kebra Belaye said their partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care had seen the training of mental health care providers across the country.
“MSFN trained over 259 health care providers in Zimbabwe on basic mental health using WHO’s mental health care training guidelines,” she said.