Only 500 psychiatrists for 222 million population, say experts

Health Reporter

PESHAWAR: The Department of Psychiatry, Khyber Medical College (KMC) and Khyber Teaching Hospital (MTI-KTH) in collaboration with Pakistan Psychiatric Society (PPS) observed the World Mental Health Day 2020 here on Thursday.

A seminar was arranged at KMC, in which the Dean, KMC Prof Dr Mahmud Arangzeb was the Chief Guest, whereas the Medical Director, MTI-KTH Prof Dr Amer Azhar, Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, KMC Prof Dr Bashir Ahmad, President, PPS Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter Dr Imran Khan, Prof Dr Muhammad Irfan, faculty members, psychiatrists, psychologists and medical students attended the function. 

Addressing the audience, Prof Dr Bashir Ahmad informed that around 0.8 million people died every year due to suicide and one person committed suicide in every 40 seconds, making that the leading cause of death among the 15-29 years old population through out the world. 

He further stated that many psychiatric disorders like dementia, psychosis and the learning disability rendered the individual unable to use his thoughts and actions and making him/her vulnerable to neglect and abuse, adding that in Pakistan one third of the population was estimated to meet the criteria of clinical depression and anxiety and it was also estimated that all over the world, half of all the economic consequences of health problems could be accounted for mental disorders.

Assistant Professor and the Provincial President of PPS Dr Imran Khan, while addressing the participants, highlighted the efforts of PPS in the promotion of mental health awareness in the country. He emphasized that mental health could be considered a focus of renewed investment, not just in terms of human development and dignity, but also in terms of social and economic development.

Other mental health experts also spoke on the occasion and shed light on the situation of the acute shortage of psychiatrists in the country, saying that there were only 500 psychiatrists for the 222 million population of Pakistan which was a very low figure as there were thousands of psychiatrists in other countries.

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