Speech by First Lady at Congress on Mental Health in Africa

On Thursday 22nd March, at the Palace of Conferences in Sipopo, the opening ceremony took place for the National Congress on Mental Health, sponsored by the First Lady of the Nation, Constancia Mangue de Obiang. The ceremony was also attended by the Head of State, H. E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who gave an opening speech. We are including the entire speech by the First Lady with this article.

The forum began with speeches by the Mayoress of Malabo, Maria Coloma Edjang Mbengono, and the president of the organising committee, Bechir Ben Hadji Ali, who praised the presence of the presidential couple, and also the efforts of the First Lady in favour of the health of the most vulnerable layers in society.

The First Lady, for her part, in her speech, recalled that during recent decades the Equatoguinean Child Support Committee (CANIGE), of which she is founder and president, has committed to fighting for the lives of boys and girls, and the most disadvantaged sector in our country.

Mangue de Obiang also mentioned the degrading situation of the psychiatric units in the country during the colonial period, in which the patients were largely abandoned and received no adequate treatment.

However, from 2011, thanks to the initiatives of CANIGE, a modern psychiatric centre was opened in Sampaka, led by Doctor RaA�l Castro, which began with 22 patients. Currently the centre has 1800 patients, although we are still far from reaching the proposed goals”, said Mangue de Obiang.

She also stressed that the aim of the congress was to look at the measures and techniques that could improve the mentally ill, together with an analysis of the deep causes which lead to situations affecting this group, among them the excessive consumption of alcohol, drugs and other narcotics or hallucinogenic plants, the sale of which in the country is causing havoc amongst young people.

I want to ask the Government to draw up and sanction laws that severely punish, with the full rigour and weight of the law, those who dedicate their time to drug trafficking in our country”, concluded the First Lady, but not before inviting the Government institutions and bodies to promote policies that protect and support initiatives which guarantee the moral well-being of the mentally ill.

Source: Official Web Page of the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

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