Kigali: Regional health professionals share experiences in mental health treatment

Health professionals from Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) convened in Kigali to discuss mental health problems which is said to be on the rise in the region.

They convened in a two-day meeting that ran from May 29-30 and was organised by Rwanda’s Protestant Council (CPR).

For Rwanda in particular, depression has recently been listed among the top five mental illnesses following the report by Ndera Neuro-Psychiatric Teaching Hospital, as it shows an increase in the number of cases related to depression.

The hospital says that since the beginning of the year of 2022, it has received 7,817 patients battling depression compared to 1,743 recorded in the previous year. Majority of the new cases are middle aged people between the ages of 20 to 39 years of age.

Speaking on behalf of Rwanda’s Protestant Council, Pastor Samuel Mutabazi said: “We gathered shared experiences we use in our respective organizations to deal with mental health illnesses. There are different techniques and materials. The meeting was an opportunity to learn from one another to harmonize and advance our services to fight mental health illnesses.”

He added: “These days, there is an increase in number of people facing this problem not only in Rwanda but also in our region.  It is very important to bring together all the people involved in the topic to come up with new measures.

Focusing on mental health issues in our region is significant to help improve people’s welfare and region’s development, Mutabazi noted.

According to Christine Musongay from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the meeting helped the participants exchange different approaches and techniques to deal with psychological and mental health.

“I learned a new approach developed in Rwanda to deal with mental health. I will share the knowledge so that it can be developed in my country too,” Musongay said.

Consolatte Mayombe from Burundi said knowledge gained from the meeting will help adopt some of the new approaches shared by fellows.