Psychiatrist Obtains Discovery Foundation Grant to Strengthen Mental Health Services

Dr Peter Milligan, a specialist psychiatrist heading the Psychiatry Department at Ngwelezana Hospital, Empangeni, obtained the Discovery Foundation Rural Fellowship Awards in the Institutional category.

This funding will allow capacity building and support of medical officers and other health workers to improve the quality of mental health services provided at the 16 district hospitals in the northern region of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The value of the award is R500 000 and will be paid in one tranche to the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Milligan boasts more than 30 years of experience in public health. His main strategic vision is to work towards integrating mental healthcare into the primary care system.

This grant will cover specialist outreach support to the district hospitals as well as online consultation and training. It will also support the training of medical officers in the district hospitals towards the Diploma in Mental Health programme which will improve the skills and capacity of the district hospitals to manage mental health problems. The project will run over two years.

Said Milligan: ‘I am very excited and honoured to receive this award. Support for rural and district hospital mental health services is a crucial need in our region. The award is aimed at strengthening mental health services in our region cutting across King Cetshwayo, uMkhanyakude and Zululand districts. There is so much work that needs to be done since we have 16 district hospitals that are served by Ngwelezana Hospital in the north region of KZN.’

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photograph: Supplied