Burundians with mental health problems claim access to medicines

On the occasion of the celebration of the World Mental health Day this October 10th, Burundian patients with mental problems say they don’t get medicines.

According to the CNPK Acting Director, the majority of patients with mental problems come from low-income families

“The treatment of patients with mental problems is very expensive whereas many of us are from impoverished families,” says one of the patients met at the Kamenge Neuropsychiatric Center-CNPK.
The same view is shared by Egide Ndayikeza, a pharmacist at CNPK. He asks the Ministry of Public Health to include medicines for patients with mental problems among those which are bought with health insurance card. “They pay full price while they are very poor,” he says.

Brother Anselme Harimenshi, Acting Director of CNKP confirms that the majority of patients come from low-income families. “But poor people are supported by the Ministry of Social Affairs even though its reaction delays,” he says.

CNPK has 152 mentally-ill patients who are hospitalized including 56 women and 96 men. According to Anselme Harimenshi, psychosis, depression and drugs are the main causes of mental illnesses recorded in this center.

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with the Switzerland Cooperation in four provinces namely Ngozi, Gitega, Bujumbura City and Rumonge in the last past two months, about 4 patients out of 10 have psychological disorders. Among them, 8.9% suffer from anxiety disorders while4.4 % suffer from acute psychosis.

During the celebration of the World Mental Health Day at the Kamenge Neuropsychiatric Center-CNPK, each patient has received 12 kg of rice, 3 kg of beans, 1 kg of sugar and 3 soaps.