EHS-COVID (6) Liberia mental health services 'overloaded' after lockdown, MSF says

1 November, 2020

Over the coming months, in collaboration with WHO, we are looking at the impact of COVID on essential health services and how they can be maintained. https://www.hifa.org/projects/essential-health-services-and-covid-19

Extract below, thanks to DEVEX news. Full text here: https://www.devex.com/news/liberia-mental-health-services-overloaded-aft...

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BARCELONA — As with many other countries, the three-month COVID-19 lockdown in Liberia caused huge disruptions to mental health services while creating an even greater demand for them. Now, Médecins Sans Frontières says a lack of funding and access to medication is overwhelming service providers in a country that has just two psychiatrists, as providers try to ensure that progress around mental health is not lost.

Since July, MSF has been working to restabilize mental health patients and accommodate the growing demand for treatment.

During the lockdown, the organization’s community engagement activities were put on hold and consultations were done over the phone, since a lack of personal protective equipment meant staff members were unable to see patients in person.

Large-scale drug distributions continued outdoors, but with many people leaving Monrovia — the epicenter of the coronavirus in Liberia — or lacking access to a phone, they could no longer receive the medication they needed to cope with a range of mental health issues, said Justine Hallard, mental health project coordinator for MSF in Liberia...

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Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, WHO-HIFA Collaboration: HIFA project on Essential Health Services and COVID-19

https://www.hifa.org/projects/essential-health-services-and-covid-19

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org