Depression Soon to Become Leading Cause of Disability: Experts

PESHAWAR: The health experts on Thursday said depression would soon become a leading cause of disability in developing countries due to poor treatment of the disease.

Speaking at a one day seminar at the 3rd health policy forum organised by Prime Institute of Public Health (PIPH)? at the Peshawar Medical College ( PMC), the experts ?stressed the need for a collaborative approach to address the challenge.

Prof. Saeed Farooq, a noted psychiatrist, speaking to the seminar said that prevalence of serious mental illness (SMI) in lower and middle income countries is about 4 per cent, while schizophrenia is most common form of SMI.

“A recent study in the United States has found that people with schizophrenia lose more than 28 years of life. In low-income and middle-income economies schizophrenia results in 14.8 Millions YLDs (Years Lost due to Disability),” he said.

He added the onset of mental illness happens in early twenties and takes a chronic course leading to vicious cycle of physical ill health, burden of disease for the family and poverty.

“If a mental illness is detected at an early stage it can be treated successfully but delay in diagnoses makes it very difficult to handle,” he said.

Dr Saeed Farooq maintained the Khyber Pakhtun-khwa government should start free treatment of psychiatric patients for at least the initial three years.

Prof Dr Hafeezur Rahman (vice dean, Peshawar Medical College) also spoke at the seminar.

Minister for Local Government, Inayatullah, in his concluding remarks said the current government has taken serious measures to bring about positive changes in the existing health system by formation of autonomous bodies.

“Separate clinical and administrative directors have been appointed in teaching hospitals. We are facing dearth of human resources especially psychiatrists in rural areas, but our focus is to ensure availability of providers at peripheries,” the minister said. He said that without strengthening primary health care, it would be difficult to resolve health issues.

By: Bureau report

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