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Children with mental illness on the risePublish Date: Dec 19, 2013
Children with mental illness on the rise
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By Violet Nabatanzi

Cases of mental illness in children recorded at Butabika Hospital are on the rise, the acting executive director, Dr. David Basangwa, has said.

Basangwa said at the moment, about 30 children between the age of five and 12 have been admitted at the hospital’s special ward and over 80 children are outpatients.

Speaking in an interview at Butabika Hospital, Basangwa said: “We run a specialised children’s clinic once a week and sometimes we see more than 80 children coming with mental problems. These children are usually brought in by their parents and relatives.”

He said most children seen at the hospital are born with the problem and as they grow, the Saigaproblem increases.

“If you look at the entire mental health spectrum, 10% would be children below the age of 12,” he said.

Basangwa attributed the high rate to severe malaria, injuries at birth and poor parenting, adding that infections play a big role.

He said good parenting skills help a lot in preventing diseases, especially mental problems and bringing up children who are healthy.

He, however, said they are faced with the challenge of low human resource for mental health to handle the big number of patients.

"We have very few health workers cutting across medical fields, from the specialist and general doctors, nurses, clinical officers and social workers."

He appealed to the Government to widen the institution’s structure.

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