Deputy Health Minister John Mangwiro

Webinar to probe Zim’s mental health situation

THE country’s mental health situation will come under discussion tomorrow morning during a webinar to be hosted by the Daily News.

The webinar, to be officiated by Health deputy minister John Mangwiro, will feature a high-powered panel, which includes Friendship Bench Association programme director Rukudzo Mwamuka, founder and chief executive officer of Zimbabwe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Trust Angelica Mkorongo, Mental Health Advocacy Zimbabwe founder Zandile Bwoni, National Association of Social Workers Zimbabwe president Linah Ruparanganda, Zimbabwe Prison & Correctional Service psychiatrist Patrick Mhaka, Founder and executive secretary for Young People Mental Health Trust Tatenda Murepa and Father Henry Wasosa.

The Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) — the publishers of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday — has described the forthcoming event as the most significant webinar on mental health to be held in the country in recent times.

“The webinar is a very important one which comes against the backdrop of the recent announcement by the government that it would scale up efforts to make mental health services more readily available. This webinar is therefore our effort to bring clarity to this very misunderstood subject.

“The theme ‘Zimbabwe and Mental Health Issues: The Beginning of Candid Conversations’, aptly captures the overriding objective of the webinar,” ANZ commercial director Lewis Chikurunhe said.

Among other objectives, Chikurunhe said the forthcoming webinar would audit the current state of the mental health sector and suggest ways to improve the situation.

“Given the importance of the issue under discussion, we felt duty-bound to put together experts on this largely misunderstood subject.

“We are happy with the calibre of the discussants and we are confident that they will put on the table ideas and suggestions that will help chart the way forward for the country,” Chikurunhe said.

The webinar, to be moderated by Christina Nyirenda-Chimuka, follows the recent launch of a special initiative for mental health by Vice President and Health minister, Constantino Chiwenga.

Chiwenga conceded that there was a huge gap between the need and availability of mental health services in Zimbabwe and the world at large.

He said “providing mental health services is essential to upholding human rights and scaling up cost effective action is a priority for Zimbabwe”.

Zimbabwe launched the Mental Health Strategic Plan in 2019, with the Zimbabwe Special Initiative for Mental Health Strategic Framework being launched last year.