As our regular readers would recall, Gede Foundation and BasicNeeds USA entered into a partnership to strengthen Self Help Groups (SHGs) and to provide referral pathways for mental health pathways from the Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) to a secondary healthcare centre such as Karu Behavioural Medicine Unit (KBU).
Since March 2018 that the project has been in existence, over 200 people have been funnelled through the SHGs, to the PHC and finally to KBU. The goal was for service users to ultimately be able to sustain and maintain their mental health issues, with support from the Foundation and BN USA as opposed to ‘helicopter parenting’. The monthly meetings by SHG in Mpape and Mararaba helped members to discuss their challenges among themselves and they contributed money to assist those with difficulties in accessing drugs and treatment at the health facility. That in itself, is the true definition of a SHG.
Mr. Sunday Itoro, carer of a beneficiary from Mararaba gave a goodwill message regarding his ward, who lives with epilepsy. He explained that before the intervention, the boy was plagued with seizures almost everyday. However, since he started medication, he has been doing relatively well and only has seizures when he goes off his medication.The clinical Psychologist at the event, Samuel Jinadu advised him to never go off medication unless advised by a qualified professional. He noted that this is what usually allows even stronger relapses as the illness is suppressed with medication but once that is taken away, it returns with full force. Many more beneficiaries gave their testimonies and noted how they or their users have benefitted from the project.
Pastor Ishaya, from Mpape brought on the stigma that is never ending. He appealed to everyone present, especially the Foundation and donors to focus more work on destigmatisation. He noted that there have been people who have lost their jobs, their self-worth because they are stigmatised against. He was open to a livelihood support programme which will empower households to generate income in order to sustain treatment for those whose recovery take longer period.
The event ended with a Q & A session with Mr. Samuel Jinadu where he advised everyone present that they should always do what the doctor prescribes and reiterated that mental illnesses and epilepsy are not spiritual conditions. They are medical conditions that can be managed.He also advised on adherence to doctor’s prescriptions in order to ensure optimal care and quality treatment outcomes.
Please return regularly to the blog as there is more news set to come!! The project may have ended but the SHGs will still be functional and continue to raise awareness, as well as support one another. For more regular updates, please visit our Facebook page, as well as our Twitter.