The World Health Organization has said one
out of every six Africans suffers from mental disorder.
This statistics was announced on Saturday
by WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso
Moeti, during a message she delivered on this year's World Mental Health Day.
In a statement issued by WHO, Moeti stated
that many Africans battling with mental ill-health often did not get the
required attention and treatment.
She said, "On 10 October 2015, we
join the rest of the world in commemorating World Mental Health Day under the
theme, 'Dignity in mental health'.
"The theme draws attention to the
crucial need to ensure that dignity is preserved in all aspects of mental
health, ranging from care for patients to the attitudes of the general public.
"In the African Region, it is
estimated that one out of every six people suffers from some form of mental
disorder. Unfortunately, in the course of treatment, some patients are
subjected to undignified treatment, such as being chained to trees or beds,
locked in a cage, left without food for many hours, deprived from family
support and inadequate personal hygiene."
According to Moeti, mental health patients
deserve respect and compassion as they cope with their disease, as it is
expected of those who suffer from any other disease.
The WHO Africa region director noted
further that some countries on the continent had implemented a range of
measures to improve awareness, restore dignity, and access to mental health
services at all levels of the health care system.
"This includes revision of their
mental health legislation in order to protect the rights and dignity of persons
affected by the condition. Despite these measures, the promotion of good mental
health and understanding of its challenges, together with early detection,
treatment, and dignity for the patients are still a concern in many countries
of the Region," Moeti added