6th Regional MentalHealth and Psychosocial Support Forum Underway 

By Jabulani Chisipo 
Psychosocial support is key in ensuring that children fully enjoy and achieve their rights and wellbeing.
The Mozambican government is working towards making that child rights are fully recognised and protected and it is one of its priority.

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Psychosocial support plays an important role in the integral development of a child, and the government is fully committed to guarantee survival and development of a children.
This was said by a Mozambican government official Mr Fortunato de Oliveira whilst speaking at the opening session of the three day Psychosocial Support Forum which is being held in Maputo physically and virtual under the theme: “Innovate. Integrate. Thrive.”
The forum which started Wednesday will end Friday with 13 countries from Southern and Eastern Africa participating.
“Children to fully enjoy their rights psychosocial support is key in order to achieve the wellbeing of a child.
“The government is doing anything in their means to make sure the children’s rights are fully recognised” said Oliveira.
The meeting seeks to strengthen capacity to help people in terms of Psychosocial support.
Speaking at the same meeting in Harare giving welcome remarks Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare ( MoLPSW ) official Praise Mhishi says the forum will help to track progress by ensuring that Mental Health and Psychosocial support ( MHPSS ) is readily available to children, youth, the families and communities at large.
“This Forum will help us to track progress made to date in ensuring that MHPSS is readily available to children, youths and their families and communities at large.”
“It is my hope that we remain committed to ensuring that MHPSS remains a key component in all communities” added Mhishi.
She also mentioned that with REPSSI support the government has developed Psychosocial Guidelines which seeks to guide service providers in the provision of MHPSS.
REPSSI board member Mercy Haatendi said the presence of participants shows that MHPSS is an issue which need to be addressed.
She pointed out that there is need to sustain resilience in young and adolescents because they are the future – hence the need to use this platform to learn and share with others regarding the MHPSS issues.
According to REPSSI Zimbabwe Country Director Mrs Sibusisiwe Marunda her organisation advocate resources and build capacity in MHPSS. Which is a 13 member regional organisation in Eastern and Souhern Africa and is based in South Africa.
Marunda speaking on her organisation’s strategy for 2021 to 2025 – REPSSI Zimbabwe has already began work on supporting communities to access psychosocial support while preventing infection among themselves.
In future REPSSI will continue to support young people and adolescents on MHPSS.
However, Mhishi urged for all to continue to strengthen communities in responding to the various life shock that affect their wellbeing and also to mainstream MHPSS in their day to day programming as service providers.
“As you are aware the government has currently passed the Children Bill which has further aligned the Children’s Act to the trends in child protection and also ensure that MHPSS contributes to holistic approach in service delivery for children and their families” she added.
Regional Adivisor Mental Health and Substance Abuse in the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Region, Dr Florence Baigana presented on “COVID-19 Pandemic, Ebola Virus Disease, Complex Emergencies: What is WHO/AFRO MHPSS Response, What more can be done.”
She said all 47 in WHO Africa Region were affected by emergencies and COVID-19. “But now we have a new Ebola in DRC one case was confirmed.”
Dr Baigana spoke on mental health impacts of COVID-19 particular the lockdown that has confined space. This has an impact on the livelihoods of individuals, and households and their economic activities.
“The impacts of health care workers all these lead to mental health.
There is mental neurological and substances disorders resulting from COVID-19.
For about 45,6 percent of South African university students reported depression symptoms and 75 percent reported subjective feeling and anxiety. 
Mr Ndeye Marie Diop from UNICEF ESARO said children in ESARO faces multiple risk and deprivations. 
There is protraction of contemporary conflicts.
Diop said There isless than 1 social service worker per 100,000 children in 7 countries.”
Statistics shows that 1 in every 4 children is leaving in conflict.
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