16 October 2004
Mental health care/Afghanistan.
After decades of war and deprivation Afghanistans mental health programes struggle to provide any real relief or treatment for those suffering from various psychological problems. Some of the patients symtoms have been caused by the trauma of witnessing their family members killed during the years of fighting, for others the problems are a result of heavy drug abuse. At this time it is estimated that there are 62,000 addicted to drugs in Kabul alone. Treatment for the mentaly disabled is almost non existent, it consits rather of containment and basic health care. The patients are fed, have a roof over their heads and are kept seperate from the general public, some are kept chained together to prevent escape. Local clinics provide antibiotic vaccinations to help prevent infections caused by the unclean living conditions, they also treat a range of injuries that the patients often inflict on themselves and each other. Whilst some medicines are available to help correct chemical imbalances that affect the mental state these are limited in quantity and effectiveness. Counciling and therapy were not forms of treatment offered in any of the institutions visited.