Psychiatrists decry mental health care in Africa

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — African psychiatrists say mentally ill people across the continent are getting poor or no care and often are treated with a heavy stigma.

This week African psychiatrists are meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in a conference underwritten by the Peter C. Alderman Foundation, a United States organization that seeks to build “mental health capacity” on a continent where armed conflict has left millions traumatized and in need of help.

Because there are few doctors and even fewer facilities, experts say most of those who need care never get it.

David M. Ndetei of the Africa Mental Health Foundation said Kenya — a country of 44 million — has only 83 qualified psychiatrists and a single hospital treating mental illness.

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