Service for Member Societies in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia

Service for Member Societies in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia

Chair: Prof. A. Okasha
Co-chair: Prof. D. Moussaoui

This program intends to help specifically the poorest and the neediest regions of the world regarding psychiatry and mental health (Enclosed is the human development index 1999 to show that these regions (Low income category) require urgent assistance). Some figures coming from these two regions are alarming (number of psychiatrists, beds for mental patients and mental health services in Sub-Saharan African countries, rate of "brain-drain", rate of mortality in some Central Asian countries), apart from the huge difficulties encountered by our colleagues, and the unavailability of resources for updating their knowledge.

One of the main dangers is the "Burn-out" syndrome, because of lack of financial, human, and other institutional resources. This happens also because of the isolation of many psychiatrists in these remote regions. Therefore one of the most important objectives of this working group is to break this isolation by:

  1. Establishing a network in Sub-Saharan African countries and in the Central Asian ones to produce a review of the present situations of mental health services, research and education in these regions (communicating whenever possible by email)
  2. Having regular meetings of this network (at least every one or two years).
  3. Creating networks for sub-regions (example: francophone, English speaking or lusophone African countries)
  4. Organization of national, sub-regional or regional meetings
  5. Helping academic libraries
  6. Giving priority to WPA fellows from these two regions during world congresses of psychiatry
  7. Promoting the education of post-graduates both in situ and in institutions from developing countries.
  8. Organization of a meeting of representative of policy makers, professional organizations and NGO with mental health personnel to find the best short and long-term strategy to address the mental health problems of these regions.
  9. Presentation of a position paper to the world congress of psychiatry in Yokohama about the situation in these regions and what have been done and can be done.
  10. Attempts to encourage more member societies (now 5 Member Societies in Sub-Saharan Countries) in these regions to join the WPA and give the facilities regarding exceptions from annual fees.

The means to achieve such goals are:

  1. World congresses of Psychiatry: at least for Central Asian countries, there was a promise from the organizers of the Yokohama WCP to help the libraries of these countries, and to give priority within the WPA Fellowship Program to the young psychiatrists coming from these countries.
  2. It would be important to raise funds in order to organize one WPA Regional Meeting in a Sub-Saharan African country, and in one Central Asian country in the 2 coming years.
  3. Educational programs of the WPA, publications and other productions should be sent to these countries, and to their academic and other institutions as a priority of the WPA and to monitor and evaluate their usage.

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