MSF ends mental health program in Killinochchi
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) ended its 18 month mental health program in Killinochchi district after treating 454 people suffering from psychological trauma related to conflict and resettlement.
According to MSF, counseling teams ran 333 awareness sessions on child abuse, attended by 7,163 school-age children, parents, teachers, and community members. A further 101 people have taken part in group counseling sessions, and 113 people received advice on handling day-to-day issues.
MSF’s departure from the district comes at a time when the Ministry of Health has committed to continue developing structural community-based psychosocial services, as set out in the Joint Plan for Assistance for the Northern Province 2012.
“We hope that these promises will be realized and that tangible projects will follow, as mental trauma due to conflict, and ongoing stress related to resettlement, will need long-term structural support,” says Michel Plouffe, MSF’s country manager in Kilinochchi.
Ten psychological support officers and ten field assistants have been trained to work in the mental health unit of Killinochchi General Hospital, as well as in four divisional hospitals in the district, after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health.
MSF continues to work in Mullaitivu District Hospital, providing support to the hospital's emergency unit and surgery activities and providing mental health care for the population in the surrounding area.