Post covid19 effect continues to trigger Mental illnesses in Uganda

23 February 2023, 2:30 pm

Byamukama Alozious>

More effects of covid19 continue to emerge in Uganda as Mental illness top.  Many of the people who suffered covid19 and those that suffered its consequences have gone through mental health challenges in Uganda

At a Media café organized by Health Journalist Network Uganda, Dr. Kwagala Claire a Uganda psychiatrist from Victory Hospital in Kampala says on clinical View, they are receiving many people who come for checkups and others to receive treatment where most are youths who turned jobless, lost relatives, suffered Covid19 and those that have resorted to over drinking alcohol, use drugs like marijuana among others.  Dr. Claire adds that mental illness could be on a rise because during the pandemic people could not access their work places where they were getting money ,  schooling  children  stopped and too much movement restrictions which were new to the public. The most mental challenge is suicidal, she says.

Mr. Edward Nkurunungi and Dr Claire Kwagala speaking to HEJNU members in Kampala

In May 13th 2022 New vision reported that “14milions Ugandans are mentally ill” and yet Uganda’s population is over 40 million people. In the some way regional statistics indicate that   Uganda is among six top countries with depression disorders (4.6%) according to World Health Organization 2017.

Mr. Edward Nkurunungi  from Peer Nation Organization also who has undergone  through mental health treatment since 1990s from Butabika  shared with Health reporters that COVID19 steered his mental illness by hindering his routine treatment. Mr. Nkurunungi , ‘’ After getting  difficulties in breathing, throat dryness I went to Butabika to check up where I turned  COVID19 positive’’ This was the first covid19 wave. He says had isolate from his wife by separating beds but still the wife contracted it from Him.

Mr. Nkurunungi says though he recovered from the covid19, it was hard still to get mental health treatment due to restrictions such as heavy military on the road, absence of transport means, and fear of covid19 and even that some Nurses were not at the hospital in fear of covid19.

Dr. Claire Kwagala urges public to get mental checkups as it the only way to know the status and counseling. She says some Hospitals provide free testing, counseling and treatment like Butabika

Ester Nakkazi, team leader at Health Journalist Network Uganda urges  Health Reporters  to write stories which do not promote stigma but instead  create awareness  and  provide a solution on mental health for all Ugandans