Updated: Mar 23, 2020
UPA (Uganda Psychiatric Association) President, Dr. Juliet Nakku, has reaffirmed her association's commitment to Uganda's Mental Health Act of 2018 which the UPA had “worked hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Health in Uganda" to ensure was passed. First established in 1964, the Act was updated in 2018 to address the current mental health care gaps in the country.
One of the most outstanding improvements in the 2018 Act is the diversification of access to mental health care services. Dr. Nakku explained that prior to the Act's update, mental health care services were provided at only a few gazetted facilities around the country. The 2018 Act increases access to these services as they are now provided at all Primary Health Care facilities in Uganda. The improved Act also offers guidance on the different types of admission and these include voluntary, involuntary and assisted admission. It also emphasises the rights of patients and guides on the different kinds of treatments that can be given including electro convulsive therapy.
Dr. Nakku noted “There is no health without mental health, so we intend to be more visible by keeping mental health at the top of the Ministry of Health agenda. Uganda has made some strides with regards to improving access to mental health care but there is a lot more that can be done. We cannot afford to neglect mental health because it is necessary for productivity and economic development of individuals and nations,” she added.
The UPA executive also plans to improve mental health literacy in the Uganda.
Note: The executive committee of the UPA. Seated in the middle is President, Dr. Julie Nakku
Author: Agnes Namaganda, Uganda Psychiatrists’ Association (UPA)