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Publication Date

10-15-2016

Abstract

An estimated 450 million people suffer from a mental or behavioural disorder. According to WHO’s Global Burden of Disease 2001, 3% of the years lived with disability (YLD) are due to neuropsychiatric disorders, a further 2.1% to intentional injuries (WHO, 2013). Only 1% of the medical doctors and 4% of the nurses were specialized in psychiatry. The last revision of the mental health legislation was in 1964. The legislation basically focused on the custodial care of the mentally ill persons and is an antiquated kind of law that has been overtaken by events. One percent (1%) of health care expenditures by the government health department was specifically directed towards mental health in primary care. Despite developing Uganda's mental health policy in 2000, it was still at draft level. The policy included the following components: (1) developing community mental health services, (2) downsizing large mental hospitals, (3) developing a mental health component in primary healthcare, (4) human resources, (5) involvement of users and their families, (6) advocacy and promotion, (7) human rights protection of users, (8) equity of access to mental health services across different groups, (9) Monitoring system. Of the overall expenditure on mental health, 55% was directed towards the National Mental Hospital. The whole population (100%) had free access (of at least 80%) to essential psychotropic medicines. This is based on the fact that medication is provided at no cost in all public health facilities. For those who pay out of pocket, 37% of the daily minimum wage was needed to pay for one day antipsychotic medication, while 7% of daily wage was needed to pay for one day dose of antidepressant medication. Mental disorders were not covered in the current social insurance schemes (WHO, 2013). Moreover, goal three (3) of the Sustainable Development Goals was good health and wellness.

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