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Suicide Rates Rise in Malawi2 minutes read

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Suicide cases in Malawi have spiked this year and a UK-based Malawian mental health research group and charity organisation, MentalCare, says it may be due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

MentalCare says people with mental health problems who are driven into isolation due to the ravaging global pandemic are at higher risks of committing suicide.

The organisation’s executive director, Gerald Namwaza-Banda, who spoke in a global World Mental Health Day virtual conference from the UK on October 10, said: “People with mental health problems are so vulnerable and at high risk to commit suicide when sent in isolation due to Coronavirus because it becomes a double jeopardy for them.

“They have to deal with two stinging stigmas at once. Having mental health problems is one of the biggest stigmas in the community one can face as people are judgemental; and now if you have tested positive for coronavirus or showing signs of the virus, people stay away from you.”

World Mental Health Day is an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

Namwaza-Banda, a mental health specialist said it is dangerous to let people with mental health issues go into isolation due to Covid-19 because by having mental health problems they are already isolated from the normal world.

“While it is important to have everyone isolated when they have tested positive for coronavirus it is also important to consider people’s mental wellbeing. People with mental health problems must also be given an extra support because on their own they are prone to killing themselves,” said Namwaza-Banda.

The MentalCare boss appealed to Malawi government leadership to put in place measures that will protect people with mental health problems from harm and danger.

“The government must ensure that people with mental health problems are well looked after. Anyone can have a mental health breakdown regardless of who they are or what they do,” he said.

“In Malawi, and perhaps in all African countries, people with mental health issues are oftentimes ridiculed and sidelined and sometimes branded as weed smokers.

“Sometimes people also believe that if someone has mental health problems then he must be bewitched by his or kinsfolk, which is competely wrong.”

World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show that 79% of all suicides happen in low- and middle-income countries.

The WHO recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th October every year.

This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘Mental Health for All.’

World Mental Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.

This day, each October, millions of people across the globe come together to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ lives worldwide.

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Uganda Establishes First Free Zone at Entebbe Airport

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The government of Uganda through the Uganda Free Zone Authority (UFZA) has finalised plans to establish the first public free zone at Entebbe International Airport. The free zone is projected to boost export-oriented investment in the country.

The project will be implemented by the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) on a five acre piece of land acquired from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) at the Entebbe International Airport premises.

Under the arrangement, the project targets sectors which include food processing, mineral processing, warehousing, storage and simple assembly, where all operators in the public free zone will process their products for onward export through Entebbe International Airport.

The development of the Public Free Zone projected to cost UGX 48billion will, on completion house seven production units and trade houses such as offices of the Uganda Free Zones Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, and other government offices to promote enterprise. The Government of Uganda (GoU) has already awarded UGX 12.5 Billion for the first phase of the project.

Speaking at the site handover event, Hez Kimoomi Alinda, the Uganda Free Zones Authority Executive Director, said the project is expected to contribute cargo volumes, create hundreds of direct jobs and significantly improve Uganda’s exports.

“On completion, the project will support increased production quality assurance and value addition to commodities that are widely produced by the masses to improve household incomes, create employment and eliminate poverty as well as improve the value of Uganda’s exports,” he said.

Alinda was speaking while handing over the site for the construction of the Entebbe International Airport Free Zone at which he said they had acquired five acres from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority for the development and contracted National Enterprise Corporation, the commercial arm of the UPDF for the construction.

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NC Speaks with Ndi Kato on #EndSARS protest

In an interview with NC’s Tolu Adeleru-Balogun, Politician and Gender activist Ndi Kato speaks on the demonstrations in Nigeria against police brutality.

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MUZIKI – #SOROSOKE Playlist

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