Health Morocco Struggles to Cope with Mental Illnesses

Casablanca – Morocco faces major challenges in its attempt to reassure concerned citizens of efforts addressing the need for psychological and medical treatment for those suffering from mental illness.Sanofi, a logistic platform for the distribution of pharmaceutical products along with the World Association for Social Psychiatry have recently organized a Mental Health Forum that aims to develop better programs for the management of mental disorders in needy countries all around the world.Morocco is included in these countries. According to the Moroccan news website, LeMatin, approxamitely 40% of the population at the age of 15 and older suffer, or have suffered, from at least one mental disorder. Most have been ousted from their communities and live on the streets without access to schooling, work or healing. Although many associations provide help in terms of clothing and housing, most suffering from mental illness do not receive enough, if any, professional treatment. The lack of specialized and qualified psychologists in the Kingdom of Morocco is another burden to overcome in order to find concrete solutions.This ongoing phenomenen is partially ignored by Moroccan society. This is why many homeless people suffering from mental illness crawl into their own world and are left with no choice but to try their best to stay alive.In comparison, more than 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental disorders. They represent the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developing countries.Professor Tom Craig, president of the World Association for Social Psychiatry said, “About 80% of people with severe mental disorders in less developed countries do not receive treatment.” For this reason, Morocco strives to improve its mental health institutions, as well as provide special training for professionals and to ease mentally ill people back to a life with opportunities. The Professor continued, “However, with appropriate care and appropriate psychosocial support, healing is possible for most of [those suffering from mental illness].”In most developing countries, mental health services lack financial support and suffer from desperate shortages of qualified psychologists. Moreover, the availability of drugs for the treatment of mental disorders is particularly low and if available, often too expensive.The lack of adequate treatment is why most victims of mental illness hurt themselves and cause danger for themselves and others. For the moment, the ongoing and partially hidden issue is back on the scene for discussion and action. It is hoped that the coming years will finally bring about the changes that everyone hopes to see.Edited by Sahar Kian© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

UN hopes to have peacekeeping reinforcements in strifetorn South Sudan within 48

“We are in desperate need for improved capacity and strength to be able to implement the mandate (to protect civilians) in a much more proactive way,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Hilde Johnson told a video news conference from Juba, South Sudan’s capital, noting that over 50,000 civilians have already sought refuge at UN bases and stressing the need for “unprecedented speed” to bring in additional troops and helicopters.“But let me underline: all peacekeepers are under the instruction to use force when civilians are under imminent threat.”Two days ago the Security Council authorized almost doubling the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to nearly 14,000 personnel through the transfer of units if necessary from other UN forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Darfur, Abyei, Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia. Tensions within South Sudan, the world’s youngest country which only gained independence in 2011 after seceding from Sudan, burst out into open conflict on 15 December when President Salva Kiir’s Government said soldiers loyal to former deputy president Riek Machar, dismissed in July, launched an attempted coup. Mr. Kiir belongs to the Dinka ethnic group and Mr. Machar to the Lou Nuer. The conflict has been increasingly marked by reports of ethnically targeted violence.“We are working round the clock to get assets in that can assist us in the current crisis as quickly as ever possible. We’re working on 48-hour delivery of several of the critical assets that we need,” Ms. Johnson said, adding that such assets include both troops and critical assets such as helicopters.“We are assisted by very good colleagues in New York and in other missions that now understand that the scale and the challenge of South Sudan need to be met with unprecedented speed.”She said UNMISS is investigating reports of extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detentions, mistreatment, abuses and mass rapes, stressing that it is essential that all perpetrators be held accountable. “We are expecting action to follow,” she added, welcoming Mr. Kiir’s order two days ago for the arrest of anyone involved in atrocities and for them to be held accountable.Ms. Johnson noted that UNMISS had been unable to verify reports of a massacre and of a mass grave being found in Bentiu in the north with 75 bodies, but that in any case the number had been exaggerated from between 30 and 50. “I call upon the political leaders of South Sudan to order their forces to lay down their arms and to give peace a chance and to do so urgently,” she said, recalling the decades of violent struggle that have marked South Sudan’s march to independence and stressing that its ethnic diversity should be a source of strength and unity, not of discord.“These past 11 days have been a very trying time for South Sudan and for all citizens of this new-born nation,” she declared. “What happened this last week has for many of them brought back the nightmares of the past. The nation that was painstakingly built over decades of conflict and strife was at stake. And for us one of the most important things is to have those nightmares end.”Despite the challenges, she said UNMISS is “maintaining and increasing our footprint across the country,” moving available assets to the most volatile areas.“At this point in time the military is overstretched with current protection obligations related to the civilians in our camps and making sure they are safe,” she noted. “We are also doing some patrols now by day and night in the neighbourhoods in Juba to try to create a more protective environment to people so that they can return to their homes.” Ms. Johnson also reported that fighting was currently going on in Bor, capital of Jonglei state north of Juba, where Government forces control the airport and key crossroads, and added that the Mission fully supports the efforts of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who visited Juba today in a bid to broker a peace. Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is warning that children in the country are in grave danger. “An estimated 81,000 civilians have fled their homes, the majority of them women and children, but we believe that with the situation changing so rapidly the actual numbers are likely to be higher,” according to UNICEF’s country representative Iyorlumun Uhaa.He voiced particular concern for those around Bor. “There are desperate shortages of food and clean water at the UN compound there and the lack of sanitation facilities poses a high risk of disease,” he said. “Children, always among the most vulnerable in conflict, are spending their days without shelter in the intense heat and sun, and sleeping in the open during the cold nights.” read more