The Mental Health and Poverty Project: Phase 1. Country Report: Mental Health Policy Development and Implementation in Zambia: A Situation Analysis

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine mental health policy development and implementation in Zambia, with a view to identifying the key barriers to mental health policy development and implementation, and steps that could be taken to strengthen the mental health system in the country.

The study found:

  • Low priority is given to mental health
  • There is need to increase participation of mental health care users in policy making
  • There is widespread stigma for mental illness
  • There is a human rights review body, but it has never inspected any mental health units
  • At the moment, the country is operating on a skeleton of mental health worker staffs that have received no training in human rights and have not had any refresher courses in the last five years
  • There is no equity of access to mental health care as close to the family as possible
  • There is no integration of mental health care at all levels of health care delivery

It is concluded that Zambia's mental health system is in a poor state. The study makes the following recommendations:

  1. Integrate mental health into routine clinical practice
  2. Provide treatment in primary care units
  3. Develop a Health Management Information System in mental health
  4. Train mental health workers: psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, psychiatric clinical officers
  5. Make psychotropic drugs available
  6. Give care in the community
  7. Educate the public
  8. Involve communities, families and consumers
  9. Review national mental health policies and plans
  10. Reform the Mental Service legislation
  11. Link with other sectors
  12. Monitor community mental health
  13. Support more research

Citation

176 pp.

The Mental Health and Poverty Project: Phase 1. Country Report: Mental Health Policy Development and Implementation in Zambia: A Situation Analysis

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