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Mental Health training for traditional healers

Sep 13, 2011, 1:39 PM | Article By: Momodou Faal

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in collaboration with the community mental health team last Saturday organised a one-day training session for 20 traditional healers from across the country, held at the old Serekunda Health Centre.

Speaking at the training course, Bamba Janneh, head of the community mental health team at Tanka Tanka psychiatric hospital, said the aim of the training course is to train traditional healers on diagnosing, management and treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders.

He pointed out that the training will empower traditional healers to easily recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness, whenever the patients come to their facilities because they are the first port of call, and it would help them to know when to refer patients to the health facilities.

Mr. Janneh added that this was the first time his office is training the traditional healers, and that the community mental health team serves as liaison between the development partners and the ministry of Health.

He stated that the team provides mental health promotion and protection countrywide, and they embark on monthly trekking to the traditional centres in the urban areas, and for the rural areas they trek every three months.

Momodou Gassama health promotion officer at the WHO country office said the reason for the training is not only to gain knowledge on mental health illness, but to also solicit the support of traditional healers to serve as advocates for the mentally ill. He urged families to remain very supportive to the mentally ill.

Fullo Baldeh, a member of the community mental health team, said mental illness is on the increase, thus the need to train traditional healers.