THE National Mental Health Services Strategy for the period 2019 to 2023 launched on Friday is set to improve quality of patient care, service delivery, mental health awareness and community empowerment, a Cabinet minister said.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo officiating the launch said the plan is expected to among other things improve to access of mental healthcare services.
“There is a need to decentralized mental healthcare and integrating into general medical healthcare from primary healthcare level with programs such as the WHOMental Health Gap.
“There is need not to only improve access to healthcare but also the quality of the care being provided. We need to strengthen our mental health systems,” he said.
MoHCC Mental Health Deputy Director Dr Chido Rwafa said they have been working on this document since December 2018.
“A stakeholder meeting to review the previous strategic plan of 2014 to 2018 was held in December 2018. We discussed both the achievements and challenes oof the last four years, we conducted an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,” she said.
She also said they have taken a leaf from the globally renowned Friendship Bench.
“In this strategic period, the mental health service would want to adopt the Friendship Bench model as part of community mental health services. It can provide a task shifting, cost effective and acceptable approach to community mental health and community empowerment in this area,” Dr Rwafa said.
The plan will be implemented in two phases each 30 months long. The first phase focusses on improving quality of care and empowering the community with the final looking at ensuring sustainability and securing the future.