YBH team member explains the prescribed medication to the main carer of a returned family member

Standard Chartered has donated Shs 37 million to YouBelong Uganda to implement “PROJECT 500”. The team consists of social workers, psychiatric nurses, and occupational therapists.

PROJECT 500 is aimed at reducing the number of patients admitted in the National Mental Hospital by 500 to reduce congestion/overcrowding and ensure that the hospital’s health workforce has enough beds and equipment to cope adequately with the COVID19 pandemic.

As part of the donation, YouBelong Uganda will procure essential mental health medicines to support the treatment of 500 patients in their homes, train health workers at primary health centers for ongoing and sustainable support of the returned persons, in their mental health recovery and the assistance will also provide upkeep and travel assistance for YouBelong Uganda’ s team of social workers, occupational therapists and psychiatric nurses who provide psychosocial support services to affected individuals and their families.

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Regina Mukiri, Head, Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing, Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Limited while handing over the donation said; “Our commitment to support various disadvantaged groups in our community is steadfast and it is also a testament to our Brand promise here for good. This latest donation we are making to the National Mental Hospital through YouBelong Uganda will provide short term relief and longer term assistance to persons who are receiving treatment for severe mental illness, to alleviate their struggle and protect them from being adversely impacted by the pandemic.”

“We are delighted to extend a COVID relief donation to persons with mental health challenges as this is a widespread challenge in our community that is often not prioritized yet the impact is far reaching, affecting several lives. We are confident that YouBelong Uganda, our partner NGO implementing “Project 500” has an impeccable track record and we look forward to achieving our objective with them, to alleviate the further spread of COVID 19 in the National Mental Hospital. As Standard Chartered we commit to not only stop at making this donation but actively participate through volunteering to support the successful implementation of PROJECT 500,” she said.

Mr. Byamah Mutamba, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of YouBelong Uganda said: “We are grateful to Standard Chartered Bank for the $10,000 donation towards PROJECT 500 and for entrusting us with the responsibility to support the National Mental Hospital to curb the spread of COVID 19 in that community. As you might be aware, there are nearly 1,000 patients in this hospital with a 550-bed capacity.”

“We are therefore working hard to move the 500 people out of the hospital as quickly as possible and resettle them back with their families and local communities and minimize relapse and readmissions. We are very aware that COVID19 can bring the work of the hospital to a standstill if it moves through the overcrowded wards so we will do everything we can to ensure we urgently decongest the hospital,” he concluded.

Some patients in the National Mental Hospital were diagnosed with COVID19 and were quickly isolated, and the quarantine worked effectively to curb further spread, however, effort is being made to decongest the hospital to prevent high impact should COVID19 intensify in future.

YouBelong Uganda has adapted a four week pre-discharge assessment process, a 12 week post discharge empowerment plan to a five week pre and post discharge intervention for those without complex needs. For those with more complex needs, the16-week process will continue to apply. All efforts are being made to ensure that data is collected and analyzed for future research purposes.