South Sudan public health sector has no psychiatric doctors

By Godfrey Olukya
Posted on Tuesday, 5 November 2013 14:01

Mentally ill inmates, the organisations said, lack medicine and doctors while confined in prisons.

Leonard Lyong, director of “Right to good Health”, a civil society group in South Sudan has challenged the country’s public health sector to recruit health professionals in the face of rising mental disorders.

“It is absurd to note that in the whole of South Sudan there is not a single psychiatric doctor in any of the government and private hospitals,” he said.

“We urge the ministry of health to ensure that some psychiatric doctors are recruited.”

Aside from the lack of public psychiatric professionals, Lyong revealed that most of the mentally ill were kept in prisons around the country.

He said prison inmates with mental disorders lack medicine and medical assistance.

In a recent interview, Rodento Tongun – spokesman of the national prisons service told the press that Juba Central Prison alone currently accommodates more than 90 prisoners with mental disorders, including women.

Tongun said that a correction unit at the United Nations Mission (UNMISS) had been providing Juba prison with a consultant psychiatric.

“To be very frank, we don’t have a psychiatric doctor in the whole of the Republic of South Sudan.

“Of late we have only George. George is just a practitioner and he is assisting us in these cases, but not enough because he is not a doctor,” Tongun was quoted by radio Miraya.

“The issue of mentally ill prisoners is not our responsibility as per se, we are just taking the responsibility of others in the absence of a mental asylum,” he added.

Tongun also called on the government to build a specialised centre that would give mentally sick prisoners the required assistance.

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