Kalisa Joseph1,*, Schäfer Ingo2, Püschel Klaus2, Mutesa Leon3, Sezibera Vincent1
1Centre for Mental Health, University of Rwanda
2University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
3Center for Human Genetics, School of Medicine and Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences,
University of Rwanda
Globally, the burden of Trauma and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a public health problem and it was highlighted in the recent World Mental Health survey carried-out in 24 different countries across the globe. The results indicated that 70.4% of all respondents had experienced different types of traumatic events. Man-made events that occur in many societal contexts, are a major reason for trauma. Despite the fact that exposure to such events is common throughout the world, most countries, including Rwanda, have their unique history of trauma.
After the atrocities of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in which more than 1 million people were exterminated in the period of 100 days; appreciating the extent of the injury inflicted on the society by the Genocide was not an easy task. A previous study showed that the majority of Rwandans (79.4%, N = 1000) had experienced at least one traumatic event as a result of the Genocide.
As a result, mental health problems related to the Genocide will continue to be the most challenging problem of mental health in Rwanda. PTSD, a frequent consequence of the Genocide in survivors, is often associated with other mental health conditions e.g. Depression and panic attacks.