Mental Health Clinic opens in Herat

After eight months of construction work and almost one year of planning and negotiations the construction of the new building for the Mental Health Clinic-Resource Centre reached its final stage. This was a good reason to celebrate with all our partners involved in this project on 21st April 2010.

 

The new two-floor building was built as an extension to the existing one-floor building in response to the increasing need for more space for treatment and training services at the Mental Health Clinic-Resource Centre.

The ceremony started with a speech by Mr. Dirk Frans, the Executive Director of IAM. He gave a short introduction on IAM as well as its Primary Mental Health Project in Herat. He thanked the Government and the people of Japan for their valuable and generous assistance which enables the Primary Mental Health Project (PMHP) of IAM to expand its services. He also thanked the Directorate of Public Health for providing the land for the clinic and all those who were involved in the actual construction work. He remarked that IAM is committed to support PMHP until such a time when it can continue its services independently from IAM.

Dr. Rashed, the head of Directorate of Public Health, emphasised the high prevalence of mental health problems in our community. He mentioned that now with the help of IAM there are mental health professionals available in Herat and that MoPH has included mental health services in the Basic package of Health Services (BPHS). He went on to say that this is not enough, a lot more should be done, and he thanked IAM for its significant cooperation and coordination with MoPH. He also thanked the government of Japan for their financial assistance to MoPH.

The ceremony continued with the speech of Dr. Suraya Dalil, the Acting Minister of Public Health. She referred to the WHO’s definition of Health, the prevalence of mental health disorders worldwide and the expected higher rates in Afghanistan. She then shared some of her past experiences which indicated people's very low or complete lack of knowledge of mental health, and the high prevalence of mental health problems. She highlighted that the Mental Health Clinic-Resource Centre is offering treatment services as well as training facilities. She wished that it would be a successful model to be copied in other parts of the country. At the end she thanked IAM, the Herat Directorate of Public Health and the Government of Japan for their contributions in developing mental health services in the region.             

IAM has been very pleased with the consultancy services provided by Liaison Engineering Office (LEO) and the good quality of works provided by Samar Construction Company during the construction process. To express their appreciation, letters were given to Eng. Mariam Guth from LEO and Eng. Bashir Hamidzay from Samar Construction Company.

The ceremony was then concluded by cutting the ribbon and a tour in the new building.