Islamic Development Bank to fund National Psychosocial Rehabilitation Complex

Representatives from the Islamic Development Bank recently met with Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton and promised to fund the new National Psychosocial Rehabilitation Complex (NPRC) project, slated for

The project is expected to cost approximately US$20 million and facilities will be constructed in Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) and Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) along with an upgrade to the Ministry’s Mental Health Unit. This will see the provision of emergency clinical services to persons needing diagnosis, care and treatment, the Public Health Ministry said.

The high-level meeting included Dr Norton; Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings, technical officers from the Ministry and Sayed Aqa, Vice President, Cooperation and Country Programming Complex.

According to the Health Ministry, the institution will be designed to reduce the role of the National Psychiatric Hospital in the mental health system in Guyana. This aligns with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation recommendations to improve quality services and standards in mental health, through the provision of better and specialised services in psychosocial rehabilitation, forensic psychiatry, drug abuse rehabilitation and psychogeriatric care.

This involves a careful reintegration of patients into family and society, reducing psychiatric beds and transforming the functions of the institution.

It has been recorded that 10 to 15 per cent of Guyanese have had a mental disorder at any one time. “This means that 78,000 to 114, 500 Guyanese are suffering from a mental disorder and require some level of mental healthcare service. Suicide is a leading cause of death among Guyanese, hence the Ministry of Public Health will continue to work closely with its technical partners to eliminate this epidemic,” the Ministry said.

The Complex is expected to provide diagnosis, management and treatment to persons with suicidal tendencies, affected disorders, general anxiety disorder, panic attacks, post-traumatic disorder, psychosis and violent behaviour, acute onset psychosis and chronic psychosis. The institution is also expected to provide care and treatment to persons suffering from psychosis due to medical conditions (HIV, Non-Communicable Diseases); substance abuse; hazardous drug reactions and interactions; personality disorders; epilepsy and dementias (Alzheimer). It is also expected that regional health facilities will be equipped and better able to manage mental health patients in various regions who are required to be inpatients for a period of time. So far, Minister Norton has commenced consultations with the PAHO, which has opted to give full technical support, especially in the area of training to improve mental health services.