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Projet:Summary of weekly radio talk-show « Emission Club de la Presse: "Urubuga rw’Itangazamakuru "

Activité:Talk show ″Urubugarw'itangazamakuru″ (Club de la presse)

Date:09/02/2021

Auteur(s):
  • IPGL
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Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. So it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Added to the fear of contracting the virus in a pandemic such as COVID-19 are the significant changes to our daily lives as our movements are restricted in support of efforts to contain and slow down the spread of the virus. Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, it is important that we look after our mental, as well as our physical, health.

"Urubuga rw’Itangazamakuru" (Club de la Presse) of this Sunday 07-02-2021 broadcasted in synergy by ten radio stations across the country and a Television (TV Isango star) focused on "The impact of Covid-19 on mental health".

Invitees:

1. Dr.Bizoza RUTAKAYIRE / CARAES Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital

2. Dr. GASANA UDAHEMUKA Magnus/ a mental health expert and member of the Covid-19 national taskforce

3. Marie Josee Kayitesi/ARCT –RUHUKA, NGO of professional counselors

Dr. Bizoza Rutakayire, a doctor at Ndera Hospital, pointed out that one of the hallmarks of a person with a mental health problem is that fear and extreme grief can overwhelm a person with mental illness, affirming that this Covid 19 caused people to panic because they were surprised by unforeseen circumstances

He added that Ndera Hospital has the highest number of metal health cases comparing to the other periods before covid-19

-Mr. Magnus, a mental health expert and member of the Covid-19 national taskforce pointed out that prevention measures such as restriction of movements and total lockdowns during the COVID-19 have negatively affected people with underlying mental illness, causing some of these patients to evade psychological support or use psychotropic drugs making their conditions more acute and dangerous.  

When a death occurs under challenging moments like in the COVID-19 pandemic context, family and friends can feel additional distress as they are unfamiliar with new ways of participating in funerals. Rwanda’s cultural norms before COVID-19 required all family members, friends, and the larger society to participate in funeral activities and support the deceased's family.

Consequently, grieving people's mental health is expected to be adversely affected due to the complication of grief among bereaved individuals during the COVID-19 crisis.

-Mrs. Josee of ARCT -RUHUKA said that the numbers of trauma cases have also increased due to the impact of covid -19.  

She added that some of the COVID- 19 restriction measures have fuelled violence, especially domestic violence, the increase in close contact between the victim and the abuser in terms of shared space and the increase in stress caused by social, economic, psychological factors associated with pandemic offers an opportunity to the abuser to commit more violence. The lockdown have hindered the victim from escaping abuse; and reduced the victim’s contacts with outsiders.

The audience reaction was that many people have been mentally affected by covid-19 and this will have consequences to their families also.

The conclusion on this mental health impact of COVID-19 was that there should be intense interventions and measures to mitigate the consequences on individuals, families, and communities.

Carrying out public and community mental health awareness, such as public discussions on the taking care of mental health during challenging times by professionals, should be paramount and channeled through all community existing platforms.

Messages of hope are necessary and need to be broadcasted by media outlets and posted in all public spaces to reach grassroots levels.

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