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'The World' Examines Exclusion Of Mental Health From MDGs

PRI’s “The World” highlights the state of mental health care in Uganda in an examination of how the exclusion of mental health from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has, according to some advocates, held back mental health as a global health issue. Julius Kayiira, director of Mental Health Uganda, an organization that provides social support, job training and care to people with mental illness, “says organizations like his face an enormous funding gap, and he blames that gap, in part, on the United Nations,” according to “The World.”

“‘The [MDGs] are one of the most important instruments for global policymaking,’ says psychiatrist Vikram Patel of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. ‘When something is not part of the MDGs, they simply fall off the net, as it were,'” the news service writes. Responding in writing to critics such as Patel, one of the chief architects of the MDGs, Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs wrote, “The reason that the MDGs do not explicitly address … psychiatric diseases is that the MDGs focus on the gap in health status between rich and poor countries, a gap mainly accounted for by infectious diseases, malnutrition, and unsafe childbirth. … The goals were crafted to address these large gaps rather than to solve all pressing health problems,” according to the news service (Silberner, 9/19).