Growing Need for Mental Health Help as More Africans Diagnosed
The Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) has sounded a warning about the persistent shortage of psychiatrists to meet the growing demand for mental illness treatment in the country.
Despite the requirement of at least one psychiatrist per district hospital, there are currently only 15 professionals available nationwide, creating a significant deficit.
According to a survey conducted in 2018, the prevalence of mental health disorders among Rwandans is estimated to be 20.5%.
In 2022 the South African government revealed that more than 6.5 million people were in need of professional mental health intervention, of which almost 1.3 million "needed care for severe psychiatric conditions". However only 0.3% of people with mental health issues are able to receive help. The country also has a massive shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists in the public health sector.
The African region is projected to have about 5.3 million health worker shortage by 2030, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported in November 2022.
It said the high attrition of skilled health workforce from the region to 'developed' countries in recent times not only threatened health security but socio-economic development on the region.
The WHO estimated that the region has 1.5 health workers (physicians, nurses and mid-wives) for every 1,000 people - far below its threshold of 4.45 health workers per 1000 people needed to deliver essential health services.
A report published by the United Kingdom Nurses and Mid-wifery Council states that between April 2021 and March 2022, a total of 23,444 people trained outside the UK joined its register for the first time.
A 2021 report from the House of Commons in the United Kingdom revealed that there are more health professionals of Ghanaian origin working for the National Health Service (NHS-UK) than in Ghana.