First Person: Supporting psychological well being in Madagascar, one session at a time

Henrielle Emasignavy works for WHO in Ambovombe, the place the Androy Regional Referral Hospital is predicated. She spoke in regards to the care that’s being supplied to people who find themselves fighting psychological well being crises.

WHO’s Henrielle Emasignavy at the Androy Regional Referral Hospital.

UN News/Daniel Dickinson

WHO’s Henrielle Emasignavy on the Androy Regional Referral Hospital.

“In Ambovombe town, we are seeing a number of mental health conditions, including psychotic episodes, schizophrenia and depression.

There has been an increase in young people suffering from mental health episodes. We think that amongst young men it may be linked to cannabis use, and amongst young women between the ages of 13 and 18, it could be the breakup of a relationship or depression following the birth of a child.

One of the contributing causes for both men and women is the anxiety of constantly living under stressful conditions caused by the ongoing humanitarian crises in the south of Madagascar.

We have recently experienced drought and cyclones in different regions of the south which have compounded the effects of climate change as well as deep-rooted underdevelopment. This has left the many vulnerable people who live across the south struggling to survive. When crops fail, they have no safety net and often go hungry. Access to health and other social protection services can also be problematic.

‘Victims of sorcery’

I met one woman called Elodie who suffered postpartum psychosis after giving birth at age 20 and then losing her child six months later.

When I met her, I noticed a chain had been attached to her ankle.

Her mother told me that it was for her own safety as her daughter kept on trying to escape. There is a lot of stigma attached to people who suffer from mental health disorders. They are said to be “possessed” and the victims of sorcery.

Mental well being issues are curable from a medical viewpoint, however growing ignorance and poverty drive folks to resort to drastic measures reminiscent of tying up sufferers, which exacerbates the psychological sicknesses they endure from.

The mother (centre) of Elodie (right) says she has responded well to medication.

UN News/Daniel Dickinson

The mom (centre) of Elodie (proper) says she has responded properly to remedy.

Accessing care

Accessing therapy is vastly difficult for sufferers. The nearest specialist hospital for psychological well being therapy is between 600 kilometres away, so to fulfill the elevated want for providers, WHO has introduced in medical groups for periodic out-patient care. 

During one three-day interval, there was a complete of 93 free consultations; 67 per cent of these sufferers had been ladies, together with Elodie, who was seen by a neurologist. As a results of this session, she was given remedy which her mom says is enhancing the state of her psychological well being. Elodie is taking care of herself higher; for instance, she is taking good care of her private hygiene.

WHO would love there to be extra providers obtainable for folks like Elodie, and whereas it’s clear {that a} visiting psychiatrist can solely accomplish that a lot, I’m completely happy that we’re capable of assist some sufferers on the highway to restoration.

Elodie has the assist of her mom and sister, however very sadly, the remainder of the household rejected her and so she and her mom had been pressured out of the household dwelling.

Her mom is hoping for a full restoration quickly so Elodie can lead a traditional life as soon as once more and so she will earn some cash and contribute to the three-woman family.”

  • Promote psychological well being and wellbeing and strengthen the prevention and therapy of substance abuse
  • Reduce the variety of deaths and sicknesses from air pollution, contamination and tobacco
  • Achieve common well being protection, and supply entry to inexpensive, important vaccines and medicines
  • Reduce international maternal mortality fee to lower than 70 per 100,000 reside births and under-five mortality to a minimum of 25 per 1,000 reside births
  • End epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and fight hepatitis and different communicable illnesses

Sustainable improvement hinges on guaranteeing wholesome lives and selling wellbeing in any respect ages