Government and WHO train mental healthcare workers

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THE Health and Child Care ministry recently trained 84 health workers on mental health and psychosocial support with assistance from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The training focused on building capacity of health workers to provide patients with psychosocial support, deal
with stress, discrimination and fear when handling Covid-19-related issues.

Among other things, the health workers were also capacitated to deal with issues of bereavement and coping with deaths of co-workers and relatives.

Mental health deputy director in the Health and Child Care ministry, Sacrifice Chirisa, said the training was part of efforts to decentralise mental health services.

“When I was diagnosed with Covid-19 in July, I went through a lot of physiological distressand it made me realise a lot of my colleagues were in the same predicament as me. And so, we had to come up with this training and ensure health care workers receive the emotional support they need to continue providing quality care for their patients,”
Chirisa explained.

According to records, 58 nurses resigned in the first three months of the pandemic as a result of fear, anxiety and physiological distress in Mashonaland Central.

Zimbabwe has significant mental needs yet it has less than seven mental health workers supporting more than 100 000 people.

As the availability of mental health intervention is often limited to specialised institutions in major urban areas, WHO is hopeful the training would make it possible for remote areas to access such services. “Soon after the training the healthcare workers are expected to cascade their training down to the community level.

This will enable more Zimbabweans to have access to mental health services at community level as more
health care workers now have the basic skills to provide mental health and psychosocial support,” said WHO non-communicable diseases and mental health technical officer Edmore Munongo.

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