Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
alerts
announcements
latest news
News Article
Uncategorized

Single Blog Title

This is a single blog caption

Second Reading Speech on the Mental Health Bill, N.A.B No.1 Of 2019 By Honourable Minister of Health

SECOND READING SPEECH ON THE MENTAL HEALTH BILL, N.A.B NO.1 OF2019

BY HONOURABLE MINISTER OF HEALTH

  1. SPEAKER, I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO ISSUE A POLICY

STATEMENT ON THE MENTAL HEALTH BILL, N.A.B. NO.1 OF 2019.

GOVERNMENT THROUGH MINISTRY OF HEALTH HAS BEEN UNDERTAKING

LEGISLATIVE REFORM THAT HAS RESULTED IN A NUMBER OF PIECES OF

LEGISLATION WITHIN THE HEALTH SECTOR BEING REVIEWED, INCLUDING

THE MENTAL DISORDERS ACT, CAP 305, PROMULGATED IN 1949. IT IS

EVIDENT THAT MENTAL HEALTH CARE IN ZAMBIA IS GOVERNED BY AN

OUTDATED LEGAL FRAMEWORK.

  1. SPEAKER, THIS OUTDATED PIECE OF LEGISLATION DOES NOT HELP

THE COUNTRY FULFIL ITS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS

TOWARD PERSONS WITH MENTAL DISORDERS. IT SUFFICES TO STATE

THAT THIS ARCHAIC LAW IS NOT COMPLIANT WITH THE CONVENTION ON

RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES. IN ADDITION, THIS OBSOLETE

PIECE OF LEGISLATION TREAT PERSONS WITH MENTAL DISORDERS AS

NEEDING PROTECTION RATHER THAN AS SUBJECTS WITH RIGHTS. AS A

RESULT, THIS LAW INSTEAD OF PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS

WITH MENTAL DISORDERS HAS LED TO VIOLATION OF THEIR RIGHTS AND

MOST IMPORTANTLY THE LAW IGNORES ADVANCES IN THE CARE AND

TREATMENT OF PERSONS WITH MENTAL DISORDERS.

  1. SPEAKER, THE MENTAL DISORDERS ACT IS A PIECE OF LEGISLATION

FROM THE COLONIAL TIMES WHICH LABELS PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH

PROBLEMS AND DISORDER , AS MAD AND DISREGARDS THEIR VIEWS

ABOUT HOW THEY WANT TO CONDUCT THEIR LIFE. FURTHER, THIS LAW

USES OFFENSIVE TERMS SUCH AS “MENTALLY DEFECTIVE”, “IDIOTS”,

“FEEBLE MINDED”, “IMBECILES” AND “MORAL IMBECILES” TO DESCRIBE

PERSONS WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS, OR DISORDERS. THESE

TERMS ARE CONTRARY TO THE INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL HUMAN

RIGHTS INSTRUMENTS THAT ZAMBIA HAS RATIFIED. FURTHER, THE

ARCHAIC LAW ENCOURAGES INVOLUNTARY ADMISSIONS, INDISCRIMINATE

DETENTION OF PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS, ILLNESSES AND

DISORDERS. MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES UNDER THIS LAW ARE NOT

ARTICULATED AND LACK INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS TO FACILITATE

SMOOTH IMPLEMENTATION OF MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMMES.

UNDER THIS OBSOLETE LAW, INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL HEALTH

PROBLEMS, ILLNESSES AND DISORDERS ARE PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE

TO INFRINGEMENT OF THEIR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS. THEY ARE

MARGINALISED, STIGMATISED AND DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. SOME OF THE

CAUSES OF THIS SITUATION ARE HISTORICAL AS IN THE COLONIAL ERA

WHEN MENTAL HEALTH CARE WAS RELEGATED TO THE PERIPHERY OF

HEALTH CARE PROVISION.

  1. SPEAKER, THE PROBLEMS OF MENTAL HEALTH HAVE REMAINED AND

CONTINUE TO EXERT NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE HEALTH STATUS OF

PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY. AS SUCH, GOVERNMENT THROUGH MINISTRY OF

HEALTH VIEWS THE STIGMATISATION OF MENTAL PATIENTS AND

MARGINALISATION OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FROM MAINSTREAM

 

3 | Page

HEALTH AND WELFARE SERVICES AS INAPPROPRIATE AND A PAST

LEGACY.

  1. SPEAKER, IN ORDER TO ADDRESS THE CHALLENGES THAT HAVE BEEN

CREATED BY THE OUTDATED MENTAL DISORDERS ACT, GOVERNMENT

THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH WORKING CLOSELY WITH KEY

STAKEHOLDERS HAS DEVELOPED THE MENTAL HEALTH BILL. THE

IMPORTANCE OF A WELL-FORMULATED MENTAL HEALTH LAW FOR THE

PROTECTION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH MENTAL

DISORDERS CAN NOT BE OVEREMPHASIZED. THE HOUSE MAY WISH TO

NOTE THAT THE MENTAL HEALTH BILL, N.A.B. NO. 1 OF 2019 SEEKS TO

ACHIEVE AMONG OTHERS THE FOLLOWING:

  1. a) DOMESTICATION OF INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS THAT ZAMBIA IS

PARTY TO SUCH AS THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS

WITH DISABILITIES (CRPD), WHICH SERVES AS A COMPREHENSIVE

AND LEGALLY BINDING FRAMEWORK FOR PROMOTING AND

PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH MENTAL DISORDERS.

THE HOUSE MAY WISH TO NOTE THAT THE CPRD PROVIDES A

FRAMEWORK THAT AIMS TO REMOVE BARRIERS WHICH HINDER

PEOPLE’S FULL AND EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION IN SOCIETY ON

EQUAL BASIS WITH OTHERS;

  1. b) PROVIDE FOR RESPECT, NON-DISCRIMINATION, AUTONOMY, RIGHT

TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND LEGAL CAPACITY OF INDIVIDUALS

WHO HAVE MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS;

  1. c) PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF VULNERABLE GROUPS WITH MENTAL

HEALTH PROBLEMS SUCH AS MINORS, WOMEN, AND MINORITIES AND

THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF SUCH VULNERABLE GROUPS;

  1. d) IMPROVE ACCESS TO QUALITY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND

FACILITATE THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF

COMMUNITY –BASED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES;

  1. e) PROTECTION OF PATIENTS AND OTHER PEOPLE FROM HARM,

PROTECT PROPERTY AND REGULATE PATIENTS’ AFFAIRS;

  1. f) PROVIDE FOR COMMUNITY BASED APPROACH TO MENTAL HEALTH

PROVISION;

  1. g) ENSURES THAT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE IN

CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES;

  1. h) ESTABLISH THE NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH COUNCIL WHICH SHALL

IMPLEMENT FUNCTIONS PRESCRIBED IN A WAY THAT IS COMPATIBLE

WITH THE INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES; AND

  1. i) REPEAL AND REPLACE THE MENTAL DISORDERS ACT.
  2. SPEAKER, AS I CONCLUDE, I WISH TO STATE THAT THIS BILL IS NOT

CONTRAVERSIAL. IT IS PROGRESSIVE AND TIMELY. I THEREFORE, URGE

HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF THIS AUGUST HOUSE TO SUPPORT IT.

  1. SPEAKER, I BEG TO MOVE.

Leave a Reply