By PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 28 Oct 2010
THE UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) has introduced mental health services at all primary health centres and other healthcare facilities across the country, according to a senior health official.
Executive Director for Health Policies at the MoH Dr Mahmood Fikri said, “A health psychology section has been established under the central department for primary healthcare to provide all levels of psychological health services for residents.”
He was speaking after participating in the 57th regional annual report session of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Middle Eastern Mediterranean Committee held recently in Cairo.
“The regional committee urged all member countries to review and prepare their national policies, strategies and plans coinciding with the current mental health issues of mothers, children and adolescents in the region,” said Dr Fikri.
He had revealed in the beginning of this month that mental disorders among mothers, children and adolescents in the region emerged as a crucial public health issue.
“An estimated 15 to 36 per cent of mothers were suffering from mental disorders in the Gulf countries. Meanwhile, the rate is 10 to 36 per cent among children and adolescents,” he elaborated.
“The rates were shocking as the mental health challenges faced by people in the Middle East were analysed as being stiffer than the problems faced by the people in developed countries,” he pointed out.
“The WHO’s regional conference discussed the alarming issues in order to bring out strategies to be implemented to eliminate the stress of the mental diseases among the region’s people,” added Dr Fikri.
“The conference also discussed the significance of unified emergency and crisis management plans among the member countries with the support of a regional solidarity fund for emergency cases, and role of ministries of health in preparing national emergency strategies,” he noted.
Dr Fikri added that the WHO had approved the nutrition strategies of the MoH. “A study will be conducted to evaluate nutrition problems of the student community,” he pointed out.