LETTERS: Mental health policy

It was not possible for me to remain silent when I learnt that the Ministry of Health (MoH) has drafted a new mental health policy “Govt drafts new mental health policy” (THT, April 10, Page 2).

It was encouraging to know that MoH has finally realised its role to play in addressing mental health issues in line with the new constitution. Also the people, who were involved in pursuing and convincing MoH for a new health policy and incorporating mental health in its annual programme and budget, deserve sincere appreciation for their enormous effort.

I had the opportunity to serve the mentally ill for some time through an NGO involved in mental health programme for 25 years. The policy aims to create an environment in which mental health is valued and promoted, mental disorders are prevented, and persons affected by these disorders are able to exercise full range of human rights and access high quality, culturally appropriate health and social care.

It has adopted five policies in area of mental health to ensure easy availability and accessibility of basic quality mental health services for all citizens: prepare necessary human resources to deliver mental health and psycho-social service, protect the fundamental human rights of the people with psycho-social disability and mental illness, enhance public awareness to promote mental health, combat stigma resulting from mental illness and promote and manage health information system and research.

According to the new constitution, all the citizens of Nepal have the right to remain mentally sound and live a dignified live.

However, it is estimated that, in Nepal, about 20 percent of the total population suffer from some kind of mental illnesses.

Rai Biren Bangdel, Maharajgunj

Workers’ rights

I was yet again mortified after reading the news story revealing the scandalous situation of hundreds of Asian workers “Qatar World Cup workers pay recruitment fees, work 18-hour days: Impact report” (THT, April 6, Page 9). This is really outrageous.

And this unresolved issue has taken a heavy toll on the lives of exasperated workers. I am not surprised to know about the vehement protests of the labourers. Most surprisingly, the employers have repudiated the news reports regarding the violation of rights of the labourers.

These World Cup workers have been exploited in such a venue that will host one of the most prestigious games of football in 2022 FIFA World Cup. Unpaid wages or salaries, mental torture, psychological blackmail, limitation of the intake of basic needs, that too of water and food, among others, are the serious matters of concerns.

Exploitation of the workforce is a sheer violation of human rights that is unacceptable.

This is not the spirit of the game of football. It´s high time that several watchdogs like Amnesty International, UNHCR, UN and others took necessary initiatives in the course of safeguarding rights of these deserted labourers who have been compelled to work overseas.

Sanjog Karki, Palpa