Uganda mental centre underfunded

KAMPALA, UGANDA – Butabika Mental National Referral Hospital  is desperate for money to carry out research.

Dr David Basangwa, the Executive Director told the East African Business Week that as  a National referral hospital they are overwhelmed with the increasing number of people suffering from various mental illnesses. 

“Some of the causes are not known.  That is why we need the funds to enable our experts engage in conducting research on some of the causes. This will help the hospital in treating mental illness related complications,” he said last week. 

According to Dr. Basangwa the hospital in the financial year 2013/ 2014 had requested Ush 400 million (about $163200),  but the government only approved Ush 50 million causing financial gap of Ush350 million. He said this cannot enable the them to engage in major research. 

He said, “Mental illness researches should be well funded as its in other diseases like HIV /AIDS.  This will help the country to come up with interventions which can reduce the causes of mental illness in the country.”

The government, together  with the development partners, have funded several  research projects associated with HIV/AIDS in Uganda. 

Dr. Basangwa is confident that if the government allocates enough funds towards the causes of mental illness, this will help in reducing these cases in future.

Speaking on their achievements in last year, Dr. Basangwa said the hospital managed to offer both specialized and general mental health care even as the number of the patients keeps on rising.

He said 28,335 patients were treated in the specialized mental health clinic and 41,843 patients with general ailments were handled in the line with the primary health care requirements.   

The hospital also managed to carry out some highly specialized investigations where the hospital managed to carry out 26,489 laboratory test Ultrasound examinations.

However Dr. Bisangwa said, “There is limited community and social support for the discharged patients this has continued to result into frequent relapses and re admissions.”