14 Oct 2014

Bougainville health workers get mental health training

5:55 am on 14 October 2014

There are plans for health workers in rural areas of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea to receive basic mental health training.

Last week Bougainville's health minister, Rose Pihei, said more help is needed for those affected by mental health issues and trauma caused by the Bougainville crisis.

The director of medical services at Buka hospital, Dr. Barnabas Matanu, says as in most post-conflict regions, mental health services are very much needed.

He says there are minimal resources to assist people, but he chairs a mental health steering committee which is looking to provide more training for health workers.

"We are able to train people who can recognise people affected by mental health initial complications, within the community. So that we can be dealing with this right in the community instead of focussing them right in the hospital setting."

Dr. Barnabas Matanu says it is important to have trained rural health workers, as it is often too expensive for patients to travel to the hospital to seek help.