Mainstream mental health in all MDAs

Mpuuga said the same efforts should eventually be spread to the private sector just as it is in the case with HIV/AIDS.

Mainstream mental health in all MDAs
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Parliamentary Commissioner and Nyendo – Mukungwe Member of Parliament, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga has called on government to plan for mental health services in all its departments and agencies.

Mpuuga said the same efforts should eventually be spread to the private sector just as it is in the case with HIV/AIDS.

“One of the biggest approaches that curtailed HIV/AIDS was mainstreaming it in all sectors and all activities. Now we can attest to a very serious reduction in the spread of HIV/AIDS. Is it hard to do the same for mental health in all we do? Mpuuga wondered.

Mpuuga made this call at the opening of the mental health camp at Parliament on Tuesday, 21 May 2023.

Mpuuga also wants government to respond to the occasional mental health drug stock outs at Butabika National Referral Hospital.

The Chairperson for the Parliamentary Forum on Mental Health, Hon. Geoffrey Macho said that additional funds are required to support Butabika Hospital which he said lacks basic needs like accommodation for patients.

"In case any supplementary budget is tabled, the hospital should be considered being the only national referral hospital handling mental health,” Macho said adding that, ‘it was planned for 400 patients but now they have more than 1200 patients who go to  an extent of fighting for mattresses’.

He reiterated the need for Parliament to fast-track the Alcohol Control Bill which he feared might be 'fought' by the breweries companies.

The Assistant Commissioner for Mental Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Hafsa Lukwata re-echoed the urgency for Parliament to process the Alcohol Control Bill, noting that substance abuse is the leading cause for mental health illness among the youth.

The Deputy Director of Butabika Hospital, Dr. Byamah Mutamba on his part asked for an increased funding to be able to reach out to communities, a strategy he says would reduce patients at the oversubscribed Butabika.

"As a national referral hospital, it is our mandate to take services to primary health care centres and in communities. This way, we would not have many patients at the hospital," said Dr Mutamba.

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