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Conflict, Ebola exacerbate Mental Disorder in Liberia

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The Vice President and Chairman of the Liberia Chapter of the West African College of Physicians, Dr. Rose Jallah Macualey, says mental disorder is a problem globally, but particularly in Liberia, where the situation has been exacerbated by prolonged armed conflict and the Ebola epidemic.


Speaking on Friday, 23 June at the first Annual General and Scientific Meeting (AGSM) and the 10th Dr. Joseph Nagbe Togbah Memorial Lecture Series of the home chapter under the Theme, “Mental Health – An unrecognized Emergency in Liberia” Dr. Macualey notes that mental health has become an emergency because it has been neglected over the years.

According to her, the AGSM provides an opportunity to highlight the problem and elevate advocacy so that government and development partners would treat mental disorders here as an emergency by prioritizing it in their policies, programs and budgets.

She recalls that the West African College of Physicians was formally inaugurated in Lagos, Nigeria, on October 23, 1973 with Liberia as a founding member, adding that unfortunately, the Liberian Chapter has remained a small chapter in terms of number of fellows.

Dr. Macualey however points out that though Liberia is a small chapter, fellows and members here continue to work hard to perform as well or even better than some of the bigger chapters, noting “Our chapter hosted a very successful 40th AGSM of the College in Liberia last November.”

“Our colleagues from other countries tell us that each time Liberia hosts the AGSM, we raise the bar, the Liberia Chapter is grateful to the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health for the support we continue to receive”, she expresses.

She explains that the Dr. Joseph Nagbe Togbah Memorial Lecture Series has be held by the Liberia Chapter of the West African College of Physicians for nine consecutive years in recognition of his numerous contributions to medical education in Liberia.

Speaking also, an official of the West African Postgraduate College Pharmacies Dr. Hasipha C. Tarpeh, lauds the West African College of Physicians for highlighting the plight of people with mental disorder.

He notes that mental health the world over is a challenge and needs serious attention, noting that Liberia as a country walking out of the ashes of the Ebola epidemic with the task to building a resilient health system is no exception to the world’s challenge.

Dr. Tarpeh furthered that research has proven that mental health is a serious concern in Liberia as evidenced by the increased number of cases, needleless to overemphasize the emergency nature of current situation. “The fight against this emergency requires joint effort with the support of the potential partners and well-wishers alike”, he concludes.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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