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Medication Challenges for Patients with Severe Mental Illness: Experience and Views of Patients, Caregivers and Mental Health Care Workers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Iseselo, M. K. and Ambikile, J. S. (2017) Medication Challenges for Patients with Severe Mental Illness: Experience and Views of Patients, Caregivers and Mental Health Care Workers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. International journal of mental health systems, 11. p. 17. ISSN 1752-4458

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Management of patients with mental disorders is inadequate in the majority of low and middle income countries. The main treatment modality for patients with severe mental disorders in these countries is mainly pharmacological approach. Patients face many challenges in meeting medication needs. In this context, high percentages of individuals who have severe mental disorders are not treated. Regular and adequate supplies of appropriate, safe and affordable medications are some of the important aspects required for provision of quality mental health services. Psychotropic medications are an important component of holistic care that provides treatment options for those suffering from mental illnesses. In Tanzania, mental health services face many challenges including inadequate mental health care providers, infrastructure, and medication supply. Relapse is a common problem among patients attending mental health facilities. This study is aimed at exploring views and experiences of patients, caregivers and mental health care providers on the psychotropic medication in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A qualitative study was conducted, involving two focus group discussions with seven and nine caregivers in each group. Eleven in-depth interviews with four patients and seven mental health care providers at Temeke Municipality, Dar es Salaam, were conducted. Convenient sampling procedure was used to select participants for the study. Discussion and interview guides were used during data collection. Interviews were audio-recorded in Kiswahili with all study participants. The recorded interviews were transcribed and qualitative content thematic analysis was used to analyze data after translation. Four themes were identified. These include attitudes of patients towards psychotropic medication, availability of psychotropic medications, financial concerns towards psychotropic medications, and coverage of free treatment policy. The availability and affordability of psychotropic medications to patients are big problems. This was partly attributed to insufficient funds to support the budget of health facilities and technical challenges contributed by both the health facilities and other stakeholders. To improve mental health services in the country, it is important to ensure adequate supply of psychotropic medications in the health facilities. Access to psychotropic medications is essential in addressing the public health problem of untreated mental illnesses. These findings call for the government and other stakeholders to increase funding for essential psychotropic medications.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Psychotropic medication, Mental disorders, Patients, Caregiver
Subjects: Non-communicable disease (NCD) > Mental Health (psycho-social health & wellbeing)
Divisions: Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS)
Depositing User: Mr Joseph Madata
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2017 11:32
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2017 11:32

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