WPA ONLINE - Electronic Bulletin - January 2005

WPA ONLINE - Electronic Bulletin - January 2005


Message from WPA President

Dear Friends,

I had a long discussion with Dr. Saraceno this morning where he explained that together with Dr. Saxena they will be available for the emergency situation in the region for the next two months. He will be based in Indonesia, Saxena, in Srilanka and others in different afflicted regions. He will be sending us regularly his reports during his presence there so that we can have a proper needs and assessment before our meeting in Cairo on the 9th of February. He agreed to join the steering committee, but he may not be available on the 9th and Dr. Murthy, from WHO EMRO in Cairo will represent him. He promised to be in Cairo on February the 20th so that we can further discuss our plans.

The WHO team will be on site to coordinate all emergency interventions and strategies in collaboration with WPA.

We agreed that both the enthusiasm and excitement are out of proportion regarding our goals. The urgency now is to identify and remove corpses, provide shelter, food and water and to fight epidemics. Our job will be training the trainers to deal with PTSD and the mental health squale of the disaster. We should realize that the WPA is not a funding agency, it is a technical agency. We can supply the experts and train mental health professionals.

To sum up, all the funds donated by Nations or agencies go to the UN, in Mr. Kofy Anan's multilateral Tsunami Fund. Then it will be distributed to all agencies, e.g. WHO is requesting US$ 67,060,220 to meet urgent health needs, as outlined in the UN Flash Appeal to respond to the 26 December 2004 South Asia Earthquake and Tsunamis. This includes: US$ 36,000,000 for Indonesia (8 projects) / US$ 12,500,000 for Sri Lanka (1 project) / US$ 6,085,000 for Maldives (7 projects) / US$ 275,220 for Somalia (1 project) / US$ 12,200,000 for regional activities and has received so far pledges for 27.1 million USD.

The WHO mental health division can ask for a certain amount of this fund to be addressed to mental health. If the WPA or other agencies need funding they should have a clear project, including objectives budget, duration and outcome. This means that no money will be disbursed unless there is a clear strategy for a certain project with the above criteria. The WPA, too, should receive any proposals either through the functional taskforce or member societies.

I have agreed with Saraceno on the following:
  1. To coordinate all available documents and programs of disaster intervention, which are many. Clearance of documents is an ongoing process. Those which are valid, reliable and endorsed by WHO will be put on the website of the WPA. I am already sending ten such documents to be added or linked to our WPA website.

    Custodial psychiatric hospitals in conflict situations.htm>> / Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-AACAP Facts For Families # 70.htm / Paho_guide_mnh_plans.pdf / Module SERVICES.pdf / Mental Health Emergenies.pdf / ISTSS guidelines article.pdf / Helping Children After a Disaster - AACAP Facts For Families # 36.htm / Suicide Teachers.pdf
    Suicide PHCworkers.pdf / Suicide GPs.pdf

  2. Money should only be given if we have a clear program with objectives, budget, time reference and outcome presented by the member societies of the afflicted regions or the Task force.

    The department of mental health and substance abuse-WHO in Geneva has already submitted a proposal for funding to the UK agency DFID, which has made available to the WHO a fund for the Tsunami emergency. Benedetto secured 1 million US $ for Indonesian mental health care services.

    The EC has agreed to my suggestion on forming “The WPA Tsunami Program” which will be composed of three committees; The Steering Committee (Structural), taskforce committee (Functional) and Advisory Committee.

Steering Committee: (Structural Committee) Taskforce: (Functional Committee) Advisory Board:
Many member societies started to have their own initiatives. I received a letter form the President of the Indian Psychiatric Society, Dr. Trivedi that they have formed their IPS Task Force for Tsunami Disaster Relief and received already USD 10,000/- from WHO Delhi for an action plan which consists of districts affected, agencies, IPS personnel in the districts, methods of operation (training, counseling, referral, interventions etc) and a budget for the same on a free format as well.

Our first meeting of the steering committee on the 12th of February, 2005, where will have more details of the situation from the WHO personnel there and any other progress reports or programs or projects submitted to the Steering Committee.
Brian Martindale suggested a WPA Disaster Fund, which Sam Tyano agreed upon. And I sent Ekaterina to create this account which will be advertised on the website. This account is ready now (thanks to Ekaterina) with the following address:
  • J.P. Morgan Chase Bank
  • Routing # 021 000 021
  • Account number 426-5000545-65
Cordial regards,

Prof. Ahmed Okasha
World Psychiatric Association




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