IN a move that is meant to raise awareness and help prevent non-communicable diseases including mental health challenges, Ecobank, one of the leading financial institutions in Zimbabwe has donated various items to help at Parirenyatwa Psychiatric Hospital.
By Patricia Mashiri
The donated goods include assorted medicines to last for a year, 40 medical beds, assorted medical equipment, disinfectants, plates, spoons, cups, water.
In his acceptance speech, Dr John Mangwiro, the Deputy Minister, Health and Child Care commended Ecobank for the gesture saying it will go a long way in addressing mental health challenges being faced by the country.
I want to thank Ecobank for the kind gesture. If one has a problem and you get someone assisting you in whatever way be it material, financial or words of wisdom we really appreciate. This donation goes a long way in alleviating drug presents here at Parirenyatwa.
“Any donation is acceptable and we are very grateful. It is also important as government that we working towards to make sure that all medicines are locally manufactured and locally available as a policy because once they get manufactured here, they become cheaper and readily available to our people,” Dr Mangwiro said.
The country’s mental health facilities have been overwhelmed because mental health have not been getting attention.
Mr Emmanuel Gwatidzo, the Ecobank Board Chairman challenged everyone to burst myths around mental health illness.
“Research has shown that everyone has a chance of having mental health illness in their lives. Now, the big question is why is it that we don’t talk much about mental health illness in our everyday life. Why is there so much stigma and shame attached to mental health illness? When people think about a person which a physical injury, we show empathy and support towards them.
“Mental health is a mental injury and because we can’t see the wounds the pain doesn’t make it less of a struggle and less debilitating from the person. I challenge each one of you to join in raising awareness on busting the myths surrounding mental illness and tackling stigma and discrimination in your communities,” Mr Gwatidzo said.
He added that Ecobank was proud to be able to raise awareness on the importance of mental health and help reduce stigma and discrimination in Zimbabwe, as well as preventing NCDs in the communities.
Meanwhile, Mrs Angelica Mkorongo, the Founder of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Trust said there was need for concerted efforts in the fight against mental health illness.
“Community based rehabilitation is very important. Its out there in the communities that things happen. It’s not about just should we get medication. Let’s go back to our communities and see why is that people are doing what they are doing for example those taking drugs.
“Let’s look at the problem and from there we can help them. It’s a job for everyone because this is affecting everyone. Let’s also not forget the rural communities because they are also suffering. Everyone can help in every little way,” Mrs Mkorongo said.