Egyptian Health Minister: Establish controls and mechanisms for President’s initiative to support mental health

Cairo – Mubasher: Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Health and Population, chaired the meeting of the National Mental Health Council, n. 25, as Prime Minister, to establish controls and mechanisms to implement the President’s initiative to support mental health, and discuss the definition of a strategy aimed at spreading the culture of mental health among all age groups of society, as well as discussing a plan to expand mental health facilities and adopt a future vision for improving the situation of the mentally ill.

The Minister of Health and Population approved the personnel affairs and agenda items governing the working arrangements of the Council during the past periods, and also discussed the financial and investment aspects of the Council for benefit from it in plans to expand mental health services and increase their efficiency, as it indicated the need to benefit from the experiences of globally successful countries in this file, and study the motivations and mechanisms used, which place the Egyptian state in the list of globally developed countries in mental health, according to a press release.

Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said that the political leadership pays great attention to the mental health file, so the Ministry of Health and Population is currently adopting a specific strategy with international standards, to develop this file, so as to ensure the facilitated access of the Egyptian citizen to all psychological support services, referring to the ministry’s role, through The National Mental Health Council aims to change the mental image of society that sees mental illness as a stigma, in collaboration with the authorities in charge of develop a plan to expand society’s perceptions and spread the culture of mental health and its importance, addressing the need to intensify the implementation of programs and campaigns to raise mental health awareness for students in schools and universities, which contributes to the education of new generations not psychologically healthy.

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The Minister underlined the importance of mental health as one of the factors for the progress of societies, indicating the need to conduct field studies, to identify the influences that cause anxiety and depression and to develop a specific plan that alleviates the symptoms of the disease mental illness, in order to preserve the state of health of citizens..

The minister was briefed on the health map for all governorates of the Republic, where the number of mental health facilities is 179, government and private, with 10,146 beds, underlining the minister’s willingness to lead an increase in the capacity of psychological facilities, underlining the need for coordination and collaboration with the relevant authorities (Ministry of Health, Higher Education, Ministry of Interior) and civil and private institutions, to study the current situation of the mental health system in Egypt and cooperate to adopt a mechanism that it would develop the psychological system and increase the efficiency of health services.

Stressed the importance of updating the Council’s automated central database, to identify the number and type of health services in all psychiatric facilities, numbers of service recipients, and preparing periodic reports for evaluation and follow-up ..

The Minister indicated the need to collaborate with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, setting up a project for nursing homes for the elderly, subject to health supervision by the Ministry of Health and Population, with the aim of reducing the burden on health hospitals mental health affiliated to the Ministry of Health. He also led cooperation to reactivate a committee to study the growing demand for addiction treatment. He emphasized the provision of all means of support and capacity necessary for the sustainability of mental health systems.

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The meeting discussed coordination with the General Authority for Accreditation and Health Supervision, to benefit from the experiences of the members of the Council, to help define unified standards for the accreditation of mental health centers, referring to the directive of the Minister to closely monitor mental health facilities to ensure they meet health requirements.

The Minister has also arranged, in coordination with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, to organize training courses for trainees in medical faculties, in the psychiatric specialty, with the aim of supporting students and increasing their experience in field of psychiatry, in addition to discussing the increase in the indemnity paid to doctors in charge of surveillance and transfer to psychiatric facilities in both the public and private sectors.

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