Adjumani district to have first-ever specialized mental health rehabilitation center
Adjumani district reported the highest cases of mental health conditions in the past 2 years, with over 5,000 cases reported each year.
By Marko Taibot
Adjumani, November 18, 2022: Alliance Forum for Development (AFOD) Uganda has over the weekend launched a fundraising drive for the construction of a regional mental health rehabilitation center in Adjumani. The planned facility is estimated to cost $1,350,000 (Shs5, 130,000,000).
AFOD has secured 10 acres of land for the construction of the multi-billion mental health facility on land that was offered by the community.
The fundraising drive held in Adjumani district was officiated by the state minister for Northern Uganda Grace Freedom Kwiyuchwiny.
Primo Vunni ARIZI, the Executive Director of AFOD Uganda said AFOD plans to establish a regional Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre, a place where host communities and refugees can all access a holistic package of integrated mental health rehabilitation services.
“Our proposed budget for establishing this rehabilitation center is $1,350,000 approximately Shs5, 130,000,000 to construct the magnificent facility which we think should take 3 years to complete and operationalize it,” Vunni said.
Construction of the medical block will cost shs838, 800,000. Medical equipment and furniture at the cost expected to cost shs1, 197,000,000; construction of administration block at shs638, 800,000 and construction of hostels at the cost of shs491, 800,000.
The facility is also expected to have a skills development facility which will cost shs516, 800,000. Land acquisition and preparation and parameter wall construction estimated at shs300, 000,000 and shs150, 000,000, respectively.
Records from the health department of Adjumani district indicate that alcohol dependence is among the main causes of mental health illness.
The district Health Officer of Adjumani, Dr. Dominic Drametu explained that over 46% of youths both hosts and refugees in Adjumani district are dangerously involved in alcohol and other substance abuse, adding that the majority is illicit in nature.
Drametu said Adjumani district reported the highest cases of mental health conditions in the past 2 years, with over 5,000 cases reported each year including rising incidents of suicide (15-20 in the last Quarters of FY2020/2021), and yet remains neglected.
“Prevalence of Depression in Adjumani and West Nile region mainly among adolescents, youth and young women is estimated at 25% and this translates to about 100,000 individuals are depressed, and close to 700,000 people are directly or indirectly suffering from depression in West Nile Region which requires an urgent preventive, treatment and rehabilitative interventions,” Drametu stated.
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Dr. Geoffrey Wandera, the Program Manager of AFOD said mental and neurological disorders have been identified as one of the greatest threats to public health and a major driver of the growth of overall morbidity and disability globally.
“Disorders are majorly attributed to myriads of factors such as alcohol and substance abuse, infectious diseases, trauma, malnutrition, accidents and urbanization associated with disruptions in family structures, homelessness, poverty, loss of social support,” Wandera said
He said most mental disorders that require specialized rehabilitation services could not access it because of a lack of Rehabilitation facilities in the district and the region. The few centers are private, mainly located in the central region and in Kampala, and are very expensive for those in need.
Minister Grace Freedom Kwiyuchwiny observed that the high number of mental health may have translated to the high rate of poverty in northern Uganda which stands at 52% of households living below poverty.
“I want to speak on behalf of the people of Adjumani and northern Uganda that we must support this initiative because of the glittering high cases of mental health and I have deduced that if you are not healthy you always be poor,” Kwiyuchwiny said.
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