Fort Portal Hospital Leads in Mental Health Treatment outside Butabika

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Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital has the second highest number of mental health patients in Uganda. Martin Ibanda, the doctor in charge of the mental health clinic at Fort Portal Hospital, says the facility is next only to Butabika Hospital in admitting mentally ill patients. He says that over recent years the number of mentally ill patients from the districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kasese, Bundibugyo, Kamwenge and Bushenyi has been on the increase. The hospital also admits a large number of patients from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Ibanda says there is no conclusive data to explain the increase in mental illness in the Rwenzori region. He however says there are signs that drug addiction may be a major cause of this. About 15 percent of patients referred to the mental health clinic are habitual consumers of narcotics. Most of the addicts are aged between 18 and 25 years. According to Dr. Ibanda, the rise in drug addiction is adversely affecting other sectors of society. He says it has led to an increase in school dropouts, domestic violence and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS. Dr. Ibanda says a number of crime suspects who are sent to his clinic for evaluation are also drug addicts.