Mentally ill patients in Lira struggle to access services

Patients sit under a tree at Lira Mental Health Unit on Wednesday. The facility has since  been turned into a treatment centre for Covid-19 patients. PHOTO /CHARITY AKUULO

What you need to know:

  • In Uganda, like most African countries, mental healthcare was already weak before the onset of Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The country has only 47 psychiatrics, most of whom are based in Kampala, for a population of about 42 million. Furthermore, mental health units at the regional referral hospitals have been turned into isolation and treatment centres for Covid-19.

People with mental illness in Lango Sub-region are facing challenges accessing services after a psychiatric unit in Lira City was turned into Covid-19 treatment centre, Monitor has learnt.
 In April 2020, the Ministry of Health turned the facility into a treatment centre following a surge in Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations across the country.
As a result, those with mental illness were advised to seek specialised care from Lira Regional Referral Hospital’s out-patient department where people with other ailments also go.

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