Govt to build 3 mental hospitals

April 13, 2015, 8:46am

Govt to build 3 mental hospitals

By Ndanki Kahiurika

The health ministry plans to construct three National Mental Health Referral Hospitals by 2018.
The centres will be established at Oshakati, Windhoek and Nankudu in Kavango West by 2018, while another will be constructed at Keetmanshoop by 2023.
The health ministry's spokesperson, Ester Paulus, said in an email that by 2023 every district hospital should have a psychiatric wing to cater for mentally ill patients.
“The process has started with a feasibility study conducted at Nankadu hospital last year, while groundwork for the Nankadu National Mental Referral Hospital will kick off during the course of the 2015/2016 financial years,” said Paulus.
She said the ministry is in the process of finalising budgetary issues and the cost of the construction of these hospitals is yet to be established.
Paulus said it is important to establish what the main cause of mental illness is and pointed out the need for studies to be conducted in this regard.
“Although the exact cause of mental illness is not known, it is becoming clear through research that many of these conditions are caused by a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors,” said Paulus.
According to her, the number of mentally ill people has increased between 2010 to 2014, compared to those recorded between 2006 and 2009.
“Psychiatric first visits treated as outpatients in public places and at hospitals in 2006 to 2009 were 9 555, while between 2010 and 2014 there were 43 583 patients recorded countrywide,” said Paulus.
In a discussion held last month during Social Workers day celebrations, social worker Verona Du Preez said alcohol consumption and substance abuse contributed highly to mental illness.
Du Preez also pointed out the need for more social workers and occupational therapists to assist once the mental hospitals are set up.
“ People need to be trained to specialise and become occupational therapists once these mental hospitals are constructed,” said Du Preez.
The Namibian reported two years ago that a number of regions had proposed that government should impose a five-year ban on alcohol sale in Namibia in order to curb the abuse of liquor in the country.
Last year, a report on the motion on alcohol abuse in Namibia was tabled in parliament by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social and Community Development, and it revealed that elderly people wasted their monthly grants to sustain their alcohol abuse habits.
The Namibian