By Peter Ssebulime
Kampala: Standard Chartered bank has announced a donation of USD 10,000 or Ugx 37,000,000 (Thirty-seven million shillings) to YouBelong Uganda’s team of social workers, psychiatric nurses, and occupational therapists to implement “PROJECT 500”.
PROJECT 500’s goal is to urgently reduce the number of patients admitted in the National Mental Hospital by 500 to reduce congestion/overcrowding and ensure that the hospital’s health workforce has enough beds and equipment to cope adequately with the COVID19 pandemic.
As part of the donation, YouBelong Uganda working with their team of Young professional Ugandans who are committed to the care of people with severe mental illness, and to improving health services in the country, will; Procure essential mental health medicines to support the treatment of 500 patients in their homes.
Provide upkeep and travel assistance for YouBelong Uganda’ s team of social workers, occupational therapists and psychiatric nurses who provide psychosocial support services to affected individuals and their families.
Regina Mukiri, Head, Corporate Affairs, Brand & Marketing, Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Limited while handing over the donation said: “Our commitment to support various disadvantaged groups in our community is steadfast and it is also a testament to our Brand promise Here for good.”
He added, “This latest donation we are making to the National Mental Hospital through YouBelong Uganda will provide short term relief and longer – term assistance to persons who are receiving treatment for severe mental illness, to alleviate their struggle and protect them from being adversely impacted by the pandemic. We are delighted to extend a COVID relief donation to persons with mental health challenges as this is a widespread challenge in our community that is often not prioritized yet the impact is far reaching, affecting several lives.”
“We are confident that YouBelong Uganda, our partner NGO implementing “Project 500” has an impeccable track record and we look forward to achieving our objective with them, to alleviate the further spread of COVID 19 in the National Mental Hospital. As Standard Chartered we commit to not only stop at making this donation but actively participate through volunteering to support the successful implementation of PROJECT 500,” he noted.
Mr. Byamah Mutamba, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of YouBelong Uganda while receiving the donation said:“We are grateful to Standard Chartered Bank for the $10,000 donation towards PROJECT 500 and for entrusting us with the responsibility to support the National Mental Hospital to curb the spread of COVID 19 in that community.”
“As you might be aware, there are nearly 1,000 patients in this hospital with a 550-bed capacity. We are therefore working hard to move the 500 people out of the hospital as quickly as possible and resettle them back with their families and local communities and minimize relapse and readmissions. We are very aware that COVID19 can bring the work of the hospital to a standstill if it moves through the overcrowded wards so we will do everything we can to ensure we urgently decongest the hospital.” He concluded.
Some patients in the National Mental Hospital were diagnosed with COVID19 and were quickly isolated, and the quarantine worked effectively to curb further spread, however, effort is being made to decongest the hospital to prevent high impact should COVID19 intensify in future.
To move as rapidly as possible, YouBelong Uganda has adapted a 4-week pre-discharge assessment process, a 12-week post discharge empowerment plan to a 5-week pre and post discharge intervention for those without complex needs. For those with more complex needs, the16-week process will continue to apply. Furthermore, all efforts are being made to ensure that data is collected and analyzed for future research purposes.