38. sao tome and principe.jpg

38. sao tome.jpg

Sao Tome and Principe is a country with an approximate area of 1 thousand sq. km. (UNO, 2001). Its population is 0.164 million, and the sex ratio (men per hundred women) is 98 (UNO, 2004). The proportion of population under the age of 15 years is 41% (UNO, 2004), and the proportion of population above the age of 60 years is 6% (WHO, 2004). The literacy rate is 85% for men and 62% for women (UNESCO/MoH, 2004).

The country is a low income group country (based on World Bank 2004 criteria). The proportion of health budget to GDP is 2.3%. The per capita total expenditure on health is 22 international $, and the per capita government expenditure on health is 15 international $ (WHO, 2004). The main language(s) used in the country is (are) Portuguese. The largest ethnic group(s) is (are) Foro and Angolare, and the other ethnic group(s) are (is) Minuye and Capeverdins. The largest religious group(s) is (are) Roman Catholic. The life expectancy at birth is 61.7 years for males and 63.6 years for females (WHO, 2004). The healthy life expectancy at birth is 54 years for males and 55 years for females (WHO, 2004).


There is a paucity of epidemiological data on mental illnesses in Sao Tome and Principe in internationally accessible literature.


Mental Health Policy A mental health policy is absent.

Substance Abuse Policy A substance abuse policy is absent.

National Mental Health Programme A national mental health programme is present. The programme was formulated in 1993.

National Therapeutic Drug Policy/Essential List of Drugs A national therapeutic drug policy/essential list of drugs is present. It was formulated in 2000.

Mental Health Legislation The latest legislation was enacted in 1963.

Mental Health Financing There are budget allocations for mental health. Details about expenditure on mental health are not available. The primary source of mental health financing is tax based. The country has disability benefits for persons with mental disorders.

Mental Health Facilities Mental health is a part of primary health care system. Actual treatment of severe mental disorders is available at the primary level. Regular training of primary care professionals is not carried out in the field of mental health. There are no community care facilities for patients with mental disorders.

Psychiatric Beds and Professionals

  • Total psychiatric beds per 10 000 population
  • Psychiatric beds in mental hospitals per 10 000 population
  • Psychiatric beds in general hospitals per 10 000 population
  • Psychiatric beds in other settings per 10 000 population
  • Number of psychiatrists per 100 000 population
  • Number of neurosurgeons per 100 000 population
  • Number of psychiatric nurses per 100 000 population
  • Number of neurologists per 100 000 population
  • Number of psychologists per 100 000 population
  • Number of social workers per 100 000 population
  • 2.2
  • 0
  • 2.2
  • 0
  • 1
  • 0.3
  • 0
  • 3
  • 0.001

Non-Governmental Organizations NGOs are involved with mental health in the country. They are mainly involved in promotion and prevention.

Information Gathering System There is no mental health reporting system in the country.

The country has data collection system or epidemiological study on mental health.

Programmes for Special Population There are no special services.

Therapeutic Drugs

The following therapeutic drugs are generally available at the primary health care level of the country: phenobarbital, phenytoin sodium, amitriptyline, chlorpromazine, diazepam, haloperidol.

Source: World Health Organization Mental Health Atlas