"CONDEMNED - Mental health in African countries in crisis"
Pastor Richard Mika of Eglise Evangelique Au Service de L'Eternal travels door to door praying over mentally ill/disabled children. As many as 5 million people have died and 500,000 women and children raped during the conflict in The Democratic Republic of Congo. The eastern part of the country has been the most affected. Thousands of refugees flooded into the capital of the eastern province of North Kivu, Goma, also the centre for those running away from Rwanda after the genocide there. Displacement, sexual violence and war has left a traumatized population. While resource rich, the east of DRC is poor in infrastructure and skilled professionals. For the mentally ill there are very few facilities and those that do exist are either too expensive or, in a region where travel is difficult due to poor roads, too far away. Treatment generally is sort from religious leaders who employ prayer and blessings or traditional healers who use herbs in an attempt to cure mental illness or disability. Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. June 2011. Photo Robin Hammond/Panos