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Nepal: Mental health care neglected, 8 Feb 2010

UN humanitarian news agency, IRIN, reports that according to the Nepalise government, 20% of the Nepali population had symptoms of mental illness in 2010. In a 10 month period in 2010 police recorded 7,300 cases of suicide nationwide, more than half of these were women. Local NGO, Centre for Mental Health and Counselling-Nepal, reported that, "This is a major public health concern and we still do not have a proper mental health care system in place.”

The Nepalise govement first formulated its mental health policy in 1996, but according to local NGO's has not been fully implemented. IRIN rstates that, "The key components of the policy included ensuring access to all minimum MH services, training MH human resources, protecting human rights of the mentally ill, and improving awareness about this public health issue." 

IRIN reports a lack of government funded clinical mental health facilities, "Only one government run health centre, Patan Hospital in Kathmandu, offers outpatient MH care. There are no inpatient or outpatient MH services in any other government-run health facilities in the country. "

The founder of the Nepal Mental Health Foundation reported that access to medical treatment is minial and costs prohibitive, IRIN states that  "Only a negligible number of patients have free government-subsidized access to psychotropic drugs, one form of medical treatment [  ]. The cost of anti-psychotic medication is high in Nepal and unaffordable for most affected families. "  Consequently many families impoverish themselves buying anti-psychotic drrugs or travelling abroad to access medical treatment. Only a small amount of NGO's are able to offer free treatment, focused on psycho-social counselling.

Original article: IRIN, Nepal: Mental health care neglected, 30 December 2010, http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=91490

Posted in Latest News on 09/02/2011

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