district is struggling to provide mental health services. This is due to the
lack of psychiatrists and adequate funding.
The district receives all mental health services from the Catholic-owned Dr
Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital Kalongo. The hospital has consecutively for
the past five financial years been receiving and attending to more than 600
patients seeking mental health services.
These include new cases, relapses as well as transfers from Gulu Regional
Referral Hospital (GRRH), Butabika Hospital in Kampala to the hospital which is
deemed closer to the people.
Godfrey Smart Okot, the Hospital Executive Director disclosed to URN during an
interview that the hospital does not have a psychiatrist and trained personnel
to attend to the mental health patients.
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He adds that they have also often run out of essential medicines for the mental
health patients yet they do not receive any from the district or
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Okot disclosed that the hospital does not charge any mental health patient for
the services offered as they are solely drawing resources from their accounts.
They have now turned to seek support from the development partners and
Samuel Ojok, the Agago district Health Assistant says the most mental health
cases registered in the district include Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD),
trauma, psychosis, epilepsy and suicide.
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Jimmy Ocaka, a psychiatrist working for a private health facility in Kalongo
Sub County attributes the mental illness cases to alcohol and substance abuse,
domestic violence, poverty, land wrangles, HIV and among others.
that such conditions if unattended to or treated will lead to suicide.
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John Otiki Jovine, a health worker at the ART Clinic in Kalongo Hospital says
that the majority of the clients present with mental illness yet the facility
has no psychiatrist to attend to them.
He disclosed that recently a nine-year-old teenage girl who failed to receive
counselling from the health facility committed suicide.
the Executive Director Finemind in partnership with the Rotary Club of Munyonyo
in Kampala, says they have partnered with Agago district local government and
trained 28 counsellors in handling mental health in the district.
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An eighteen-year-old teenage girl in Kalongo Sub County who was recently
abandoned by her mother disclosed to URN that she had opted for suicide until
the intervention of a private counsellor since she had sought the service from
government health facilities in vain.
Uganda has only 43 psychiatrists who are deployed in Mulago and Butabika
National Referral Hospitals and four regional referral hospitals offering
mental health services.
Derrick Kiiza, the Executive Director of Mental Health Uganda says that the
shortage of psychiatrists in mental health facilities in the country has
greatly affected the provision of mental health services and denied several
clients from accessing or getting adequate services.
Kiiza says that out of the 43 psychiatrists, six are based in Butabika National
Referral Hospital while the others are deployed only in Mulago National
Referral Hospital and four Regional Referral Hospitals including Gulu, Arua,
Kabale and Mbarara.
Kiiza added that an assessment they conducted in government facilities offering
mental health services discovered that there is a high level of violence,
provocation, abuse, insults, and inhumane treatment of persons with mental problems
due to the lack of experts deployed in such facilities.
Emmy Daniel Ojara is a young journalist and has been practicing since 2013, during which he covered land rights violation in the contested Apaa and Lakang in Amuru as his first take ups while at Gulu Fm, Favor Fm and later Paidha Fm and Speak Fm where he is still attached.
Human rights abuses and denied access to land by security and government agencies has been the major aftermath of the contest over the lands. The underprivileged such as women, children and the elderly faced challenges in accessing soc