Malawi’s mental health crisis deepens as shortage of specialists hinder diagnosis and treatment

Written by Humphreys Bomba:

Insufficient specialized medical professionals, including psychologists and psychiatrists, have been identified by health advocates as one key factor hindering Malawi to contain mental related diseases.

A renowned health expert Maziko Matemba said the country is being haunted by increased mental related diseases due to lack of knowledge and negligence among people, which hinders the diagnosis of mental related diseases.

“The country is still experiencing an increase in mental related diseases due to late diagnosis of the diseases as the majority of Malawians do not have enough knowledge about these diseases. Some parents do not even take it seriously due to their upbringing”, said Matemba.

Matemba-lack of knowledge is hindering the diagnosis of mental related diseases.

Matemba further suggested that there is a need for increased awareness to shed light on various mental related diseases, affecting many in the country.

He said, “As a country, we need to have more medical professionals that would help in disseminating and imparting messages on mental related diseases effectively if we are to be rescued from the burden”.

Concurring with Matemba, a clinical psychologist at the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHES), Dr. Chiwoza Bandawe said partly the cases are also increasing due to insufficient specialized medical professionals.

“Government ought to consider recruiting more medical personnel including psychologists who will add value to the culmination of these diseases which have posed a threat to people”, said Dr Bandawe.

Dr Bandawe-there’s a need to recruit more psychologists and psychiatrists.

Dr Bandawe added there is a need to swiftly act in provision of high and adequate mental health services which he said can be achieved through specialized medical professionals for their rights to be protected.

“In order to protect the rights of those with mental diseases and sensitively develop services, it is vital to gain a more accurate understanding of the frequency and nature of stigma”, added Dr Bandawe.

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates 1 in every 8 people live with mental health disorders such as neurodevelopmental disorder, disruptive behavior and dissocial behavior, schizophrenia and depression globally.

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