August 22, 2019

The Ministry of Health has announced it is preparing a national project to confront a variety of psychiatric disorders including “anxiety, depression, tension and insomnia,” as well as social and family stress. This will be applied by health units across the country.         

Mona Abdul Maksoud, President of the Mental Health Secretariat in the ministry, stated that the project will be initiated with a trial version in several health units in the Port Said and Damietta governorates, then the project will be expanded to all governorates. Abdul Maksoud added that this service will be provided for free, besides providing any required medication for those who cannot afford it, or for 10 per cent of the expenses to be covered.    

This project comes under the recommendations issued by WHO to merge mental health services with primary health care centres. It is anticipated that the project will be announced officially within a few days according to doctor Saly el-Nouby, head of mental health research and the programme manager. El-Nouby stated that experts have trained 20 psychiatrists who will then train their fellow doctors in family medicine and social work, besides nursing in mental health services. 

According to the statistics of the national survey of mental health issued in April 2018, 25 per cent of Egyptians are suffering from psychiatric disorders. On the top of the list is depression at 43 per cent, disorders concerning addiction at 30 per cent, while only 0.04 per cent of people suffering from psychiatric problems seek treatment and receive specialised medical help.