Health

Butabika national referral mental hospital demands more funding

Butabika national referral mental hospital demands more funding

The Executive Director of Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital Dr  Nakku Juliet has asked ministry of finance to increase their funding to scale up specialized Mental health services in the country.

Nakku says they they are overwhelmed by increased number of mental health patients at the facility yet the money the facility receives annually is not enough to extend services to those in need.

“we are overwhelmed with number of mental health patients after the covid 19 pandemic and Ebola. Our resource envelope is not enough to take care of staff welfare and provide services to abandoned patients after care,” Nakku said.

“This financial  year 2022/2023 we request finance die supplementary budget from Parliament and we  were given for sh 2billion to cater for welfare and feeding. However looking at our expenses and the growing mental health disorders we want our budget to be increased this financial year 2023/2024, “she added.

She additionally said during the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health units of most hospitals were converted to COVID-19 isolation units until May, 2022, which reduced the provision of mental health care services in this period.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for community mental health-care models in Uganda.

According to Nakku there were 28 outpatient mental health facilities available in the country, with none having a special clinic for children and adolescents only. The number of users per 100,000 general population treated by these facilities could not be established.

In Uganda 19.86% of adults are experiencing a mental illness. Equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans. 4.91%  experiencing a severe mental illness. The state prevalence of adult mental illness ranges from 16.37% in New Jersey to 26.86% An estimated 14 million Ugandans suffer from a form of mental disorder, statistics from the health ministry and the Uganda Counselling Association have revealed.

“Many people in low- and middle-income countries face daily challenges, and their mental health has been additionally burdened by COVID-19. Psychologists in Uganda have been trying to help,” Nakku explained.

Butabika National Referral hospital through multidisciplinary approach to healthcare, Butabika Hospital provide access to a wide variety of medical specialties for a full range of clinical services, as well as primary care. The unique approach brings together the work of physicians, nurses and other care providers across the hospital to ensure that patients receive comprehensive and personalized care.

Butabika Referral hospital is the centre of excellence offering specialized mental health care, treatment and training and research services in the country.

Despite inadequate funding to the facility, the hospital intends to acquire  ISO certification this year.

Recently the facility launched the first MRI machine to improve on mental health services in the country.

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