50% of people with schizophrenia cannot access treatment: Kamwi

11 Oct 2014 08:50am
WINFHOEK, 11 OCT (NAMPA) – People with schizophrenia should get the best possible care and support so that they and their families may learn how to manage their illness, the Health Minister says.
Dr Richard Kamwi made the appeal in his speech read by the Acting Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services Axel Tibinyane during the commemoration of World Mental Health Day under the theme ‘Living with Schizophrenia’ here on Friday.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness which affects how a person thinks, feels and acts.
People with such illness find it difficult to tell the difference between reality and imagination, and they cannot think logically or express appropriate feelings.
He said some mental disorders emanate from war and/or major disasters, including trauma incidents.
Kamwi said commemorating the day was aimed at creating public awareness to make issues related to mental health a global priority, so that Namibia can attract investment support to improve the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of all mental health conditions, which area rapidly increasing globally.
“We all have a part to play in raising awareness of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses so that people can better understand and reduce fear, stigma and discrimination,” he said.
Schizophrenia often develops in adolescence or early adulthood, and affects approximately 26 million people worldwide.
Kamwi observed that more than 50 per cent of people with schizophrenia cannot access adequate treatment, and 90 per cent of people with untreated schizophrenia live in the developing world.
About 20 patients battling with schizophrenia from the Katutura Intermediate Hospital attended the event.