Psychiatric morbidity among physically ill patients in a Ugandan Regional Referral Hospital

  • ZG Rukundo
  • S Musisi
  • N Nakasujja


Background: Mental illness is a global health burden that remains poorly understood even by health care providers. It is important to get insight of the prevalence, clinical features and management of psychiatric morbidity in general practice in Uganda as it affects treatment outcome.
Objective: To determine the prevalence, types and associations of psychiatric morbidity as seen among adult in-patients on medical and surgical wards of Mbarara Regional Referral hospital as a prototype Ugandan regional referral hospital.
Methods: This was a cross sectional descriptive study. Psychiatric diagnosis was arrived at by administering the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) as the diagnostic instrument.
Results: Of the 258 participants in this study, 109 (42%) met criteria for at least one DSM IV psychiatric diagnosis. Only 6% of all the psychiatrically diagnosed patients were recognized by their treating doctors as having mental illness.
Conclusion: The psychiatric disorders on the general medical and surgical wards are highly prevalent and not recognized by staff on these wards despite their common occurrence. There is need for sensitisation of staff on recognition and management of psychiatric disorders in physical illness.

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eISSN: 1680-6905