psychologist for one million inhabitant
of the health budget is allocated to mental health services
Battered women, children living on the streets, prisoners, victims of political violence, disabled people, people who use drugs, people suffering from Aids or hepatitis C… There are many Egyptians who suffer from mood disorders, anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress. These ailments impact directly on their relationships with people close to them, particularly their family.
Many Egyptians suffer from mood disorders, anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress.
Furthermore, Egypt is seeing a growing number of refugees taking risks to reach Europe by sea via networks of people traffickers. The chronic political instability in the country affects these people who come from Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea or Ethiopia. In common with most marginalised groups, migrants are stigmatised and not well received by some health professionals who blame them for carrying contagious and infectious diseases. This rejection just reinforces the trauma of exile and of not speaking the language.
But in Egypt, mental health services focus primarily on prevention and are concentrated in hospitals. The nursing staff in community centres are not trained in this and there is a desperate shortage of specific medicines.
Doctors of the World implements a three year programme which aims to improve access to mental health services for at-risk populations in the Cairo agglomeration, in partnership with the Ministry of Health. In 2016, almost 200 health professionals (doctors, nurses, health educators), from nine primary healthcare centres in Grand Cairo and Giza governorates, were trained in mental health. Consequently, these centres are able to make early diagnoses of mental health disorders, manage the most common disorders and refer on complex cases.
The association also supports five Egyptian NGOs – Basmat Amal, Cewla, El Shehab and Saint Andrews Refugee services – who provide psychosocial services to very vulnerable populations such as refugees and migrants, women victims of violence, street children, people living with HIV and disabled children.
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