By Steven Godfrey Mkweteza
Ticia Counselling Centre and DMI St Johns the Baptist University have said escalating cases of suicide and defaults on anti-retroviral treatment can be reduced if the country has adequate and well trained counsellors.
Chief executive officer ( CEO) for Ticia counselling centre, Patricia Singini, said this in Blantyre when her institution in partnership with DMI St Johns the Baptist held a fourth joint graduation ceremony.
Singini noted that the country was facing mental health challenges and ART default rates due to unavailability of poor and shortage of counselling services.
“Therefore, we feel that training of many more students in HIV testing services, counselling and psychotherapy would go along the way to narrow the gap, ” she said.
According to Singini, since the private institution was partnered with the DMI St John the Baptist University, they have made progress improving the training courses curriculum.
She said the institute has made it easier for more Malawians to pursue studies and careers in counselling and that the course content has been designed to suit the local environment, making it easier for graduates to easily assimilate into the health sector, most especially on mental health and HIV services.
Among others, Singini highlighted her institutions’ plans to become an university soon to offer Degrees and PHDs in various disciplines and bring out efficiency in counselling services.
In a separate interview, the deputy vice Chancellor for DMI St Johns the Baptist University, Professor Golden Msilimba, advised the graduating students to be flag bearer whenever the go and endeavor to make a difference.
Msilimba however, said there was a need to upscale the trainings in other districts so as to cater for bigger populace.
“People need counselling in marriages, financial matters and mental health among others, hence, the need for the graduands to have emphathy and make a difference, ” he said.
On the other hand, the professor, cleared the reports about the accreditation of the DMI St Johns the Baptist University.
Msilimba said the private institution was still intact despite the recent reports that it has been discredited.
“We want to clarify that the university is an accredited institution by the national council of higher education (NCHE). Therefore, people should disregard the reports that it HSS been discredited, ” he said. President for the cohort, Richard Mughogho, said the graduating class was well equipped to go out and change the status quo.
He however, called upon the stakeholders to consider scalping up the services and create a room for employment of the graduates.
“Public and private health facilities are facing shortage of staff and poor service delivery, hence the need to employ the well qualified employees,” said Mughogho.
The graduation ceremony saw a total of 107 graduands awarded with certificates in HTC, counselling and psychotherapy courses.