Health Workers Also Need Psychosocial Support In Cyclone Idai Hit Areas

HEALTH workers and even those providing assistance in areas that were hardest hit by Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani and Chipinge are also in need of counseling and psycho-therapy, a Health and Child Care ministry official has said.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

This was said by Epidemiological and Disease Control Director Dr Portia Manangazira at a Cyclone Idai Psychological Support Sensitisation, Training and Coordination Meeting on Tuesday.

“Psycho-social support should be provided across board. Don’t overlook our health staff. The people have been busy organizing themselves and coordinating with everyone,” she said. “They are exhausted and mentally stretched.”

To date consignments of  medicines and food stuffs have been donated to the areas but however psychological therapy remains the missing link.

Pychosocial support centers have already been  set up even Manicaland province but reports from the ground indicate that they are short staffed. In the scarcity of these professionals, church pastors and teachers have been playing a major role.

With victims needing psychosocial support, Dr Manangazira said the health workers should not be overlooked. She said often times as this comes with their job, health workers they put their lives on the line exposing themselves to traumatic experiences, risking their health for the ill and injured.

“They lost fellow workmates, houses and even relatives that are directly related to them,” Dr Manangazira.

About 350 people attended the meeting to provide counselling to people in Chimanimani and Chipinge.  The Ministry’s Mental Health Services Department Deputy Director Dr Chido Rwafa said the people wanted in the province are those with mental health professionals such as psychologists, clinical pyschologists, social workers, psychiatrists, teachers, and pastors.

Dr Rwafa said the hit areas do not have enough personnel to offer psychotherapy.

She said the people who registered to be part of the psychological assistance team would also be cross checked with the Allied Health Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe.

“There has been a massive turnout actually keeping up with what has been happening in response to this disaster where other people have been contributing. We actually ran out of the registration forms for there where more than 250 people here,” Dr Rwafa said.

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