Following a recent World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Advisory Committee on Response to Emergencies (ACRE) meeting, the WPA has launched an Online Psychiatric Clinic facility at the Ibadat Hospital under the Mental Health Programme for Afghans to help the mental health experts and patients in the war-torn country.
WPA President Professor Dr. Afzal Javed attended the formal launching ceremony of the clinic as a chief guest and the officials of the Health Directorate of Khost province of Afghanistan, Including Dr. Masoom joined the function through the video link.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Afzal Javed said “The WPA, like many other organisations, is concerned about the situation, particularly about the plight of those Afghan people who have a mental illness. He added, “As Afghanistan is one of the WPA member societies, we contacted them to try and understand how we can help their mental health professionals and patients. Certain issues came to light, such as a lack of sufficient manpower to treat the patients, etc. This is one of the main reasons we have worked hard to set up this online clinic to support not only those with mental health issues but also our fellow experts working on the ground in Afghanistan.”
During the meeting, Prof Khalid Mufti, Chairman Horizon NGO Peshawar introduced the virtual clinic programme and thanked WPA’s for starting this initiative in collaboration with Horizon NGO and Pakistan Psychiatric Society. He stated that “the people with mental health issues suffer the most in such crises and so are hit by the circumstances” and “the Online Psychiatric Clinic is an initial step in supporting them”. This clinic will advise and guide the patients, local doctors and associated staff for management of their patients. General medical practitioners who receive patients with mental health issues, but feel they are unable to deal with them in the absence of mental health professionals, will also be trained through on-line courses and seminars.
Prof Dr Khalid Mufti has been nominated to be the focal person for this project and WPA are grateful to him and his team for supporting WPA for this programme. Dr. Afzal Javed also thanked Horizon and Ibadat Hospital, Peshawar & Pakistan Psychiatric Society to start this online psychiatric clinic & extending help to Afghans as well as Prof Imtiaz Dogar, President Pakistan Psychiatric Society & Dr. Ali Ahsan Mufri for their support to this programme. He closed the meeting by emphasizing that “supporting our member societies and mental health professionals remain a priority, especially for those countries that already face with a lack of resources.”
A similar on-line clinic in Farsi language will be started shortly from Iran with the help of Iranian Psychiatric Association. These clinics will provide online consultation to patients and also guide mental health workers requiring professional guidance about the management of their patients.
Author: Dr. Ali Ahsan Mufti, Pakistan Psychiatric Society