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Central African Republic is a country with an approximate area of 623 thousand sq. km. (UNO, 2001). Its population is 3.912 million, and the sex ratio (men per hundred women) is 95 (UNO, 2004). The proportion of population under the age of 15 years is 43% (UNO, 2004), and the proportion of population above the age of 60 years is 6% (WHO, 2004). The literacy rate is 64.7% for men and 33.5% 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 4.5%. The per capita total expenditure on health is 58 international $, and the per capita government expenditure on health is 30 international $ (WHO, 2004). The main language(s) used in the country is (are) French. The largest ethnic group(s) is (are) Baya and Banda, and the other ethnic group(s) are (is) Mandjia and Sara. The largest religious group(s) is (are) Roman Catholic, and the other religious group(s) are (is) Protestant, indigenous groups and Muslim. The life expectancy at birth is 42.1 years for males and 43.7 years for females (WHO, 2004). The healthy life expectancy at birth is 37 years for males and 38 years for females (WHO, 2004).

EPIDEMIOLOGY

There is a paucity of epidemiological data on mental illnesses in Central African Republic in internationally accessible literature.

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

Mental Health Policy A mental health policy is absent. The national mental health policy formulation had to be stopped because of serious military-political events in the country. The situation analysis for this policy formulation is complete and funding is being sought to revive the activities.

Substance Abuse Policy A substance abuse policy is absent.

National Mental Health Programme A national mental health programme is absent.

National Therapeutic Drug Policy/Essential List of Drugs A national therapeutic drug policy/essential list of drugs is present. It was formulated in 2002.

Mental Health Legislation Details about the mental health legislation are not available.

Mental Health Financing There are no budget allocations for mental health. Details about expenditure on mental health are not available. The primary source of mental health financing is out of pocket expenditure by the patient or family. The country does not have 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. Neuroleptics are very cheap. A campaign against drug abuse has been undertaken by the Ministry of Health. 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
  • 0.07
  • 0
  • 0.07
  • 0
  • 0.03
  • 0
  • 0.03
  • 0.03
  • 0.08
  • 0.03

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

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. An annual statistics report in psychiatry and mental health service does exist.

Programmes for Special Population The country has specific programmes for mental health for refugees, indigenous population and children.

Therapeutic Drugs The following therapeutic drugs are generally available at the primary health care level of the country: carbamazepine, phenobarbital, chlorpromazine, diazepam. The essential drug list was revised in 2004.


Source: World Health Organization Mental Health Atlas