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Dr.Atong Ayuel, the head of psychiatric department at JTH who also doubles as Health Ministry’s Director for mental health

Government urged to increase funding for mental health amid a spike in cases

The government has been urged to increase the budget for the mental health department in Juba Teaching Hospital following a recent spike in the number of cases.

Atong Ayuel, the Head of the Psychiatric Department at Juba Teaching Hospital and also the Director for Mental Health in the National Ministry of Health, on Monday, called for more funding to help treat mentally sick people.

 “I definitely love the government to put the psychiatric department as a priority, there is a lot to be done if we really want to make a difference in this country, mental health is not about ill people it is all about those who are still stable, we need to make sure that they are fine,” said Ayuel during the celebration of World Mental Day at Juba Teaching Hospital.

She noted that since 2020 they have been receiving several patients from the states seeking treatment in the main referral hospital.

 “Currently, in this hospital, we are having 8 patients that we are taking care of, and in wards 7 and 8 in the central prison we have over 75 patients,” said Ayuel.

 She disclosed that 20-30 patients visit the mental health department on daily basis.

Fabian Ndenzako, the Country Representative for the World Health Organization (WHO), said that the world in August this year launched a comprehensive global mental health plan, adding that South Sudan needs to invest in mental health programs.

“The plan has highlighted the need for member states, including South Sudan to invest in mental health programs to make sure we have resources that should address the mental health issues,” said Ndenzako.

“It is important that we fund the health sector, we put money into the health sector but more so we have to target the mental health services,” he added.

Yolanda Awel Deng Juac, the National Minster of Health, promised that there will be a budgetary increase for the mental health department, adding that mental health needs to be integrated at the primary healthcare level.

“We will try our best to make sure the facilities are well-equipped in Juba teaching hospital, and in all the ten states and three Administrate areas,” said Juac.

South Sudan joined the rest of the world on October 10th to celebrate World Mental Day under the theme, “Make Mental Health and Well-Being for All a Global Priority”.

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