Liberia: Mental Health Wellness Unit Dedicated in Kakata


Monrovia – Assistant Health Minister for Preventive Services Joyce Sherman has warned against the tendency of decency syndrome and wants health practitioners in Margibi County and country to work in achieving a fruitful result.

Report by Willie N. Tokpah, [email protected]

At the dedication of a Mental Health Division Wellness Unit in Kakata, Margibi County, Minister Sherman noted that only a committed service would showcase good health delivery in the area, urging health practitioners in the county to do their best in providing the needed health delivery for inhabitants.

“If we wait for things to happen and for everything to be good, we know it will never happen around here,” Minister Sherman said.

The Mental Health Wellness Unit forms a part of several units across Liberia, in line with the National Mental Health Policy and was implemental by Carter Center and partners and was funded by the National Oil Company of Liberia, NOCAL.

Minister Sherman noted that mental health is becoming a critical health problem and the need to have wellness unit to cater to people suffering from mental disorders is cardinal.

She emphasized the need that mental health technicians be trained and maintained in helping to address mental problems in Liberia.

During the ceremony, Carter Center Mental Health Program Project Lead, Dr. Janice Cooper noted that the construction of the wellness unit was not done by Carter Center alone, but other partners as well.

“Center in collaboration with the Ministry of Health has done most of the workaround, trying to support Mental Health in Margibi and Montserrado Counties,” Dr. Cooper noted.

She further lauded the Liberia Center for Outcome and Research in Mental Health (LICORM) for lobbying with NOCAL in sourcing funding for the implementation of the wellness unit project.

The construction of the Wellness Unit, according to her, is in accordance with the National Mental Health Policy of Liberia.

“The National Mental Health Policy calls for the construction of wellness units in all of the 15 counties, and so we are really happy that Margibi can be able to have enough personnel to be able to start the wellness unit, so that Margibi can join the counties that have wellness unit,” Dr. Cooper said.

University of Liberia Dean of School of Pharmacy, Associate Professor Ezekiel F. Hallie who served on the Board of LICORM, said funding had been a serious challenge for the establishment of the unit over the years.

But the help of the National Oil Company of Liberia, through funding, according to him, had made the headache of getting a mental health wellness unit in Margibi a reality.

Though NOCAL provided some funding, that he said the amount could not take the project to a finishing state, forcing its implementing arms to do additional sourcing in completing it.

Prof. Hallie indicated that Liberia mental problems need serious attention and the construction of wellness centers could help address that.

“We want to see that Liberia is on course mentally and we need a unit to make it happen. People with mental health problems who are on the streets need rehabilitation. And where can they find it, from us who are trained, who are specialists in this area,” he said.

He said having a unit in this area would keep people suffering from a mental disorder for counseling for some time before going Monrovia.    

In the same way, Margibi County Inspector, Moses Gbankpalah, lauded the implementing agents of the project, noting that it serves as a gateway for some level of addressing mental problems in the county.

Gbankpalah said, the issues of mental health is everybody’s business and must be taken seriously.

At the same time, the secretary of the Margibi Nurses Association, Antoinette Sumo stated how nurses in the county had faced challenges over the years in transferring patients with mental health problems out of Margibi.

Madam Sumo said the construction of a wellness center by Carter Center and partners speaks volume to progress in the mental health sector of Margibi County.

With the wellness unit, Madam Sumo noted that nurses in Margibi would be able to manage mentally ill persons for a while before being transfer to Monrovia.

“We’ve been having lots of problems with these patients in transferring them to Monrovia, but at least, with this building, our nurses will find it very confrontable to be able to manage them here for a while before transferring them to Monrovia,” Madam Sumo averred.

NOCAL Corporate Social Relations Lead, Sharon George said she is delighted for the level of committed made by partners in implementing the wellness unit project.

This, according to her, is intended to ensure that mental health issues are resolved in Liberia.

“To the technicians, we want to say thanks for deciding that mental health is something you want work to address. We are very grateful and for me, it’s a big deal. I have had depression in the past and with treatments, those things can be addressed.”

Meanwhile, CH-Rennie Hospital Medical Director Asinya Magnus lauded Carter Center and partners for the project, stating that it falls in line with his administration quest to improve the capacity of the hospital.