The Ministry of Health is preparing to address emotional crises during the upcoming 23rd commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsis.
The Ministry said earlier on Tuesday April 4, 2017 that it has assembled tools to ensure mental health interventions during the commemoration period.
The ministry will deploy psychologists and psychiatrists from Mental Health Division to provide psychological support to the victims in need.
Clinical centers have trained staff ready to cater for the victims of trauma. Formal instructions from the Minister of Health include training health professionals and volunteers on psychological first aid, management of cases on commemoration sites and health facilities.
The plan is to strengthening health centers located near commemoration sites; availing essential medicines and ambulances; strengthening social support during hospitalization of trauma victims.
Dr. Jean Damascene Iyamuremye, a mental health specialist says, “Good health without mental health is not possible. If we do not combat trauma, our national health is at risk.”
He believes traumatic crisis can be handled and treated. “We are committed to providing timely and proper assistance for free. We encourage the general public to do the same thing by approaching and offering inspiration to others who have had life –altering negative experiences, comforting their neighbors and other persons who are likely to get problems during the commemoration,” he said.
Dr. Iyamuremye added that, in order to facilitate transport for trauma victims, during this commemoration week alone, ambulances will be available.
There will also be a special team to identify the detailed information of the victim, arrange for visits and transfer them to the hospital or any other health services, if need be, that can track their case in as a short time as possible.
Every year, the Ministry of Health through Rwanda Biomedical Center, (RBC) Mental Health Division reinforces mental care across the country.
It also organizes and coordinates psychological first aid from the central community level to address emotional crises and trauma that arise during that period.
The national health system is mobilized to cover the period of commemoration by receiving and treating people with emotional crises.
How to aid someone with signs of trauma
One of the ways to assist a trauma victim is to talk with them about their past experiences. Show them that you understand them and do not let them that you are worried or shocked by what they told you. This can be done either by a twosome, family or group.
What are Rwandans advised to do during this period?
During this hard period of the commemoration of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, it is possible that some may listen to the talks, witnesses or songs. Or watch films and other programs related to commemoration and are not able to control their emotions.
If you feel weak, unable to understand the situation, get away from those programs and have some rest, breathe so as to regain strength or even approach health councilors for help. Everyone should help their neighbors , listen to them , comfort them or take them to the nearest health center.
In order to curb trauma cases, every person is required to avoid bad language, aggressive behavior and abandoning those who have exhibited signs of trauma.
For the upcoming 100 days of commemoration, the public can call a toll – free hotline 6200 for MTN, TIGO and AIRTEL for quick support to people in need. Psychological first aid, advice and orientation will be provided by specialists 24/7 from April 7 to July 4, 2017.