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The drugs given to many of Africa’s psychiatric patients are often administered to keep the patients asleep so the hurried nurses can get some rest, and those who cannot sleep may have their hands or feet tied up.
Yet these patients may be considered lucky, because across Africa most of those who need psychiatric care don’t ever get it. Caregivers are few and health facilities even fewer, tragic circumstances on a continent where armed conflict, disease, and rampant poverty have left millions of people traumatized and in urgent need of professional help.
Now, thanks in part to a US-based organization founded by the family of a young man killed in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, African psychiatrists and mental health experts are determined to change what they all agree is the alarming condition of mental health care across the continent.