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Adela Madyane- Kigoma

Towards commemoration of world refugees day, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has visited 21 refugees admitted for almost three years in Kasaka mental health centre which is found in Kigoma district with the aim of re -committing assistance and standing on their health well being.

The visit was accompanied by education officers from Kigoma municipal and district councils, Medical Teams International (MTI) and ministry of home affairs who provided non food items as their support to the centre that included juice, sanitary pads, slippers as well as body lotions

UNHCR officials, Brothers of Charity, Kigoma District Council, Medical Teams International with some mentally ill refugees from Burundi and DRC receiving treatment at the Kasaka Mental Health Center owned by Brothers of Charity

Speaking during the visit Gideon Ndaula Public health officer from UNHCR Kigoma office said, as part of their commitment the organization continue to affirm its commitment by paying their hospital bills, medical fees as well as feeding them for the whole time they are admitted at the health centre with about sh 8.4 million a month.

“Conditions which face refugees when they leave their countries in most cases are life-threatening that is why when they in-cure any mental problem they are taken to hospitals for both medical services and psychosocial support” Said Ndaula.

He added that when there are no better mental health services in camps they undergo referral which is done by partner organization of Medical Teams to other hospitals and health centers to be well treated for better healthy and psychosocial needs.

Speaking to health centre authority Mikanyonga Chantal Medical Doctor said out of 32 admitted patient 21 are refugees from Nyarugusu and Nduta camps while other patients come from other parts of Tanzania like Dar-es-Salaam, Manyovu and Kasulu.

She adds that they daily receive between 30 and 35 patients both from camps and in host communities while monthly they receive more than 450 patients

Speaking on the challenges Chrisantus Rwehikiza director of Tanzania brothers of charity who is also a director of Kasaka mental health centre said medication, bedding, food supply and health workers are the the most challenging issues affecting the proper their efficiency.

“Monthly doze for one patient may cost about Tsh 400,000/= it is very expensive and people from host community are not able to pay, insufficient health workers is also a challenge for mental challenges needs one to one consultation but unfortunately we only have 32 workers out of 60 due to lack of funds to pay them,” said Rwehikiza.

He added that due to the nature of the disease some the patients urinate on the bed a situation that leads to changing of mattress and bedsheets from time to time which is also very costful

Rwekihiza is asking for the government and other stakeholders to provide them with food, medication as well as bedding.

Julieth Lunyungu referral focal person from Medical Teams International said they do referrals in three hospitals in Maweni region, Heri mission and for mental its Kasaka health center and that per month they can have five patients who are sometimes admitted and others are being attended to and be left to go

Innocent Sangara UNHCR Assistant Representative for Operations who is also head of the sub-office UNHCR Kigoma said supporting with problems, especially the helpless people of mental problems is a big challenge and that we all have to love them, respect and cherish them.

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