Latin American Meeting of the Global Forum by the Communitarian Mental Health (Havana, Cuba)
From December 10th through 12th, 2008 the Latin American meeting of the Global Forum of Communitarian Mental Health was held in the city of Havana, Cuba. Dr. Benedetto Saraceno, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the WHO, participated in the forum. Delegates of several Latin American countries participated, and users of mental health services, their relatives and NGOs were involved in this subject; there was also ample Cuban participation. The inauguration was presided over by the Cuban Vice-minister of Health, Dr. Somarriba. He was accompanied by, among others, Dr. Lea Guido, Representative of PAHO/WHO in Cuba; Dr. Victor Aparicio, Subregional Adviser of Mental Health of PAHO/WHO; Dr. Carmen Borrego, Coordinator of the Operations Group of Mental Health and Addictions of Cuba (GOSMA); Dr. Miguel Valdes Mier, President of the Cuban Society of Psychiatry; Dr. Birgit Radtke of CBM (Christian Blind Mission), and Dr. Ángelo Barbato of the Worldwide Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation.
15-16 December, 2008, a workshop on promotion of mental health and prevention of psychiatric disorders was held in Panama City. The workshop received technical support from PAHO and was inaugurated by Dr. Cirilo Lawson, General Director of Public Health for the Ministry of Health. The workshop was targeted at professionals in mental health, education, and health promotion from different regions of the country so as to create a national strategy in this area. In the workshop, different approaches in educational settings, employment and health services were analyzed. The National Program of Mental Health of the Ministry of Health will develop a document on promotion and prevention in the field of the mental health that will compile scientific evidence available at the world-wide level and the previous experiences that Panama has had. This document will be available in 2009 for discussion and consensus among the different implied actors.
Spanish and English versions of the report of evaluation of the services of mental health of Honduras are available on the websites of the WHO, PAHO and INFOCOM
Workshop of the Project of Technical Cooperation between Honduras and Panama
On January 23rd, a workshop was held on the local experience of the province of Colon (Panama) in the framework of the Honduras-Panama inter-country cooperation project on "The mental health component in general hospitals in a community setting." In that province the teams of the Ministry of Health and of the Social Security Office (CSS) work in co-ordination in a model services linked to Primary Care and with the arranged psychiatric hospitalization in the general hospital. At present, the mental health team is composed of three psychiatrists, four psychologists and eleven professional nurses. Last year 106 patients were discharged from the psychiatric hospitals, of which 83 (78%) were first admissions; 80 (75%) came from the emergency services of the Amador Guerrero General Hospital. The hospital currently depends on 11 beds for mental health disorders in the Service of Internal Medicine. Children in need of internment, receive it through the service of pediatrics. The workshop placed great emphasis on strengthening human resources and training concerning primary health care and specialized training.
From February 9th through 12th, an advanced training course in alcohol brief interventions was held in Panama. The course was led by Dr. E. Lucas Figueroa of Argentina and directed to 25 professionals of the country so that they can subsequently relay this training to primary care workers within different regions. The training involves the activities stipulated in the agreement signed between PAHO and the Community of Valencia (Spain) on “Consumption of alcohol, associated problems and answers in Latin America”.
The Mental Health Component in General Hospitals: Activities in Panama
During February 5th and 6th, a national workshop was carried out on this subject - within the framework of the agreement of technical cooperation between Honduras and Panama - in Penonomé, Province of Coclé. The workshop was formally introduced by the Regional Director of Health. Forty professionals of the Ministry of Health and the Social Security Office attended, representing 8 of the 9 regions that have general hospitals. The work of the mental health teams and their connection with the community was analyzed during the workshop. Recommendations included strengthening of human resources, supporting decentralization of services and increasing quality of benefits.
Mental Health Advocacy
A new Spanish-language module on “Mental Health Advocacy” of the set of guides on services and policies of mental health is available at the PAHO web site.
This it is the fifth module available in Spanish. Previous modules include; “The context of the mental health”, “Mental health policy, plans and programs”, “Mental health legislation and human rights” and “Quality improvement of mental health”. The sixth module, dedicated to “Mental health financing”, will be available in March.
Colonia Montes de Oca is reconverted with the cooperation of PAHO
Buenos Aires, January, 2009 (PAHO). - Colonia Montes de Oca, where 860 patients with diverse mental disorders and disabilities currently reside, initiated a proposal of reconversion with the technical support of PAHO, to develop a reform that includes community-based development services of psycho-social rehabilitation. The initiative seeks to end the state of abandonment to which the hospital was subject for many years. Toward this goal, PAHO has made an agreement with the authorities of the institution and the national Ministry of Health to carry out a training program for personnel and to educate patients’ families about community-based services. This goal of this effort is that those with mental disorders can be cared for in an essentially ambulatory manner, and only when absolutely necessary, in general hospitals, thus reducing internment. An additional goal is to increase access to social work so that those affected may be better reintegrated into the community.
For more information, visit the PAHO website for Argentina
World Mental Health Day, 2009
The theme for the 2009 World Mental Health Day, which is usually celebrated on October 10th, is "Mental Health in Primary Care: Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Mental Health”.
More information regarding this matter will soon be published on the World Federation of Mental Health website
Editorial Committee: Jorge Rodríguez, Hugo Cohen, Víctor Aparicio, Devora Kestel, Armando Vásquez y Martha Koev
PAHO’s Mental Health, Disabilities and Rehabilitation Bulletin is published bimonthly in English and Spanish.
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