Mental illnesses hit Botswana

Sabrana Psychiatric Hospital
Sabrana Psychiatric Hospital

The latest report from Statistics Botswana (SB) has revealed that Batswana suffer from Schizophrenia, schizotypal and delusional disorders accounting for 56% of all out-patient mental health disorders.

According to the 2016 psychiatric out-patient heath disorders latest report which was published this week, about 37,352 mental out-patient disorder consultations were registered. Mood Affective Disorders were the second most common block of mental disorders with 16.9% while Episodic and paroxysmal disorders were the third with 7.5 percent of all consultations.

The report also highlighted that the male counterparts were the most affected as more than half, 52.4% of mental health out-patient consultations were males while their female counterparts constituted 47.6%. Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of cannabinoids (psychotic disorder) and mental and behavioral disorders due to use of cannabinoids (harmful use) were the only top 10 consultations among males.

Majority of mental health consultations were from Gaborone with 19.1% followed by Francistown with 18.3% and Lobatse with 15.6%. The top three health districts constituted 53% of all mental health consultations in Botswana. The health districts are also a host to the three-referral hospitals in Botswana. Further, the report indicated more repeated consultations which constituted 94.2% of all mental health consultations compared to new consultations for each month which constituted 5.8 percent. “Although this shows that there were very few new consultations for each month, more repeat consultations were reported for each month ranging from 5.9 to 9.1 percent.


Schizophrenia unspecified was the leading mental consultation among repeat cases followed by depressive episode with 11.1 percent and epilepsy unspecified with 7.7 percent,” read the part of the report. Others include depressive episode unspecified followed by acute and transient psychotic disorder.

Psychological disorders or mental illnesse are far the most understood class of disease by society which is usually fuelled by general lack of effort in public education. The leading mental health out-patient consultations are in the 0-14 broad age group.

For this age group, disturbance of activity and attention was the leading mental health consultation accounting for 27.8% followed by epilepsy unspecified with 21.7% and unspecified mental retardation with 8.2 percent.

All the top 10 mental health consultations among this group constituted 79.3% of all out-patient consultations in this age group. This statistical health report analyses out-patient consultations about mental health disorders in Botswana.

The data is collected from administrative records of all mental consultations at health facilities country wide. Statistics Botswana’s Health Statistics unit is seconded to the Ministry of Health and Wellness to provide statistical support, as an enabler of better national/public health programmes through the collection and dissemination of quality official statistics for evidence-based decision-making, programme monitoring and evaluation.

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