MFS opens mental health center at Tongogara Refugee camp

Fungayi Munyoro-Chingaira

CHIPINGE – Medecins Sans Frontieres (MFS)-an international medical humanitarian organization has opened a mental health center at Tongogara refugee Camp.
The opening of Baobab House as it is known is out of the realization of the mental health problems facing refugees because of the traumatic conditions of war and other problems that forced them out of their countries.
The Baobab House will offer key services like counseling and psycho-social support.
Guest of honour, Commissioner of Refugees Totamirepi Tirivavi said due to factors that propelled refugees to flee their countries, they are vulnerable to mental health problems and are in need of counseling, psycho-social support intervention and services.
Tongogara has 15 151 refugees mainly from war torn and post-conflict countries like Burundi, DRC, Sudan, Rwanda and Somalia
“Refugees and asylum seekers faced many traumatic and life threatening events in their home countries due to military conflicts. Their displacement was not a choice therefore their distress needs to be addressed holistically,” said Tirivavi.
MFS Acting Country Representative Kuziwa Kuwenyi said mental health intervention is one of her organization’s operational mandate.
“We all agree that mental health issues particularly in a refugees setting are an important fabric that needs continual reinforcement and hence mental health and psycho-social support is an important organ which can go on to make positive impact in any community at all levels for people’s wellbeing. Over the years MFS has implemented a number of programs in contexts with displaced people on mental health and psycho-social support,” she said.
Chipinge Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer Blessing Mamvosha said the launch of the project will transform the lives of people at Tongogara Refugee camp, the youth in particular.
One of the refugees Dudu Freddy (Burundi) who has been in the camp for 12 years said he was happy with the establishment of the centre. He hoped the centre will help him heal from the trauma he experienced during displacement.

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