Ministry of Health and Butabika Hospital Officials meeting the MPs yesterday
The Parliamentary Committee on Health has on Wednesday commenced deliberations on the Mental Health Bill (2014) which among others advocates for the rights of people with mental illnesses in the country.
The committee chairperson, Michael Bukenya says the bill is one of those that were not handled by the 9th Parliament and seeks to have amendments in the current Mental Treatment Act (MTA) 1964.
Yesterday, the committee members were meeting with officials from Ministry of Health and Butabika Referral Hospital led by Dr. Sheila Ndyahabangi, the Principal Medical Officer, Dr. Julius Muron, Psychiatrist Consultant, Dr. Juliet Nakku the Deputy ED Butabika hospital and Dr. Basaruswa the ED Butabika hospital.
The officials told members that there is need to have the bill passed which will among others allow health workers at all levels to offer treatment to mental illness at any level of health care.
Dr. Ndyahabangi said government policies have been progressive since 1982 and yet the MTA 1964 does not enable their full implementation.
“Example of such policies include; the Minimum Health Care Package (Uganda Health Policy) allowing for treatment of mental illness at any level of health care, the MTA 1964 doesn’t recognize voluntary treatment,” Ndyahabangi noted.
Dr. Muron told the committee that the bill seeks to uphold the rights of mental health patients to seek court redress in case there are cases of human rights violation.
“The current MTA is inadequate in promoting Human Rights and participation of persons with psycho-social disability in attainment of their civil liberties; it is lacking in the promotion of client knowledge, information and participation in care and treatment,” Muron noted.
Dr. Muron noted that, “The procedure for appeal of human rights violation exits only through Uganda Human Rights Commission and the appeal process is not integrated into care; main areas were appeal is required include consent to treatment and management of personal affairs.”