In his opening remarks, Momodou Gassama, communication officer at World Health Organisation (WHO), disclosed that the act to provide for detention and custody for lunatics (mentally ill) was formed in 1917 and needs to be revisited so that certain clauses in the act can be removed.
He appealed to participants to make best use of the workshop and examine the document critically to come up with something tangible to replace the outdated clauses. He thanked the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare for developing the mental health clinic and for developing a strategic plan to deal with mental health issues.
In a separate development, Adrian Van Assouw, a retired psychologist who was also a participants, told this paper that he is in The Gambia to work as a volunteer at the psychiatric hospital. He however, said that his impression is that mental health is an unknown issue for many Gambians, as few people struggle in The Gambia to protect the rights of the mentally ill and the mentally retarded.
Adrian Van Assouw revealed that he has plans to convince other retired Dutch psychologist to join him to help The Gambia.