Ecobank Malawi partners Society of Medical Doctors in Mental Health Awareness

Ecobank Malawi has partnered with the Society of Medical Doctors of Malawi (SMDM) to scale up awareness and positive action towards non-communicable diseases, particularly mental health illnesses in the country.

The partnership is also in readiness for this year’s Ecobank Day scheduled for 22nd October 2021, which will be held under the theme: “Together for Better Health”.

A similar event will be staged across 33 African countries where Ecobank operates.

Mithi (in blue jacket) and Chalamba

Head of Brand, Marketing & Corporate Communications at Ecobank Malawi, Tidzi Chalamba, said the bank stages such event to reaffirm its commitment towards giving back to local communities.

Chalamba said the bank decided to partner with SMDM to raise create awareness and drive positive action towards Mental Health Illnesses.

He said through this intervention, they would like to demystify and destigmatize mental health illnesses so that people should know that these illnesses are the same as any other physical illness and that anyone can suffer from them.

“As a responsible corporate citizen, we made a commitment that we will proactively support and drive awareness of Non-Communicable Diseases which are on a rise in Malawi and across Africa. So far, we have successfully focused on cancer, and diabetes.

“This year our focus is on mental health, an area that is shrouded with misconceptions and stigma. Most importantly people should know that mental health illnesses like depression, anxiety disorders, dementia just to mention a few can be prevented and cured with the proper health care and support just like any other disease before they reach extreme levels,” said Chalamba.

This partnership will see the bank collaborating with mental health specialist like a Dr Makiyi and Professor Chiwoza Bandawe, who will be guiding them in all awareness intervention activities.

“We believe that this initiative will go a long way in saving not only one life, but many lives as it will rally those suffering from mental health issues seek out assistance; and help those surrounding them give adequate support so that as per our overall theme of “Together for better Health”, we can all collectively fight mental Health illnesses. This is the time to talk and act on Mental health,” Chalamba explained.

In his remarks, SMDM President Dr Victor Mithi pointed out that mental health is one of the big problems in the country, but is not given much attention compared to other diseases.

“Mental health is one of the big problems that we have in the country as evident from the increase in number of suicide cases. Almost daily suicide cases occur in the country and these deaths of productive citizens can be avoided.

“Mental health illnesses also result into huge economic loss because when more people are depressed, for instance, they cannot be fully productive. In general, there is low awareness of mental health issues not only here in Malawi but across the globe hence makes it difficult for those suffering from such illnesses to seek help.

“We believe then that through this initiative, we will drive awareness and positive action towards the fight against mental health illnesses thereby save lives and safeguard our economy,” said Mithi.

He applauded Ecobank for coming up with this initiative, which he said, will help ease the burden that comes with mental health complications.

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