Bong’s Mental Health Coordinator Threatens to Quit Over Lack of Support

GBARNGA, Bong – The mental health coordinator for Bong, A. Dakemue Kollie, has underscored the need for adequate support for mental health programs in the county.

Kollie told The Bush Chicken that currently the mental health program in the county is heavily challenged with limited drugs for patients, low human resources, and the lack of logistics to effectively cater to mentally ill people.

“We still have a great problem when it comes to the support for mental health in this county and I think this is a national problem,” Kollie said. “We were seven mental health clinicians in this county but most of our colleagues have left to seek different [jobs] because of the lack of support. As I speak, we are three now in the county,” Kollie continued.

He said some partners of the Ministry of Health provided some support in the form of supplying drugs but these drugs quickly ran out, posing difficulty to clinicians treating patients.

Bong’s Mental Health Coordinator, A. Dakemue Kollie. Photo: Moses Bailey

Bong’s Mental Health Coordinator, A. Dakemue Kollie. Photo: Moses Bailey

Kollie said when the French-based Médecins du Monde and Save the Children were providing support to the mental health program a few years back, a total of 16 facilities were providing mental health services to patients in Bong.

That number has since reduced to three after the two organizations pulled out support. Those three facilities are the C.B Dunbar Hospital, Phebe Hospital, and a unit within the Gbarnga Central Prison.

He said the three facilities as a whole receive over 400 mental health consultations monthly.

He wants the government to consider mental health as an important component of the country’s health care delivery system.

Kollie said there is no health without mental health and so it was important for more support to be given to the program in the country.

Asked about the welfare of mentally challenged patients in the streets of Gbarnga, Kollie said: “A lot of them you see in the streets in Gbarnga today were once stabled. We [once] had [an] area to keep them and sent them to E. S. Grant Mental Health Hospital in Monrovia. But due to Ebola, some of them relapsed because there was no support coming for their drugs. Right now, we don’t have the drugs to administer to them. That is the reason you see them in the streets.”

Kollie himself says he may not stay with the mental health program in Bong much longer if the government does not provide adequate support for a smooth operation of the program.

Featured photo by Moses Bailey

Moses Bailey

Moses started his journalism career in 2010 as a reporter at Radio Gbarnga. In 2011, the Press Union of Liberia recognized him as the Human Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2017, he was the Development Reporter of the Year. He is also an Internews Health Journalism Fellow. Moses is also the regional coordinator for NAYMOTE-Liberia, an organization working with youth to promote democratic governance.

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