More than 20 million people in Pakistan, which is around 10pc of the total population, suffer from brain and neurological problems and disorders. Despite; this number being much higher than people suffering from heart diseases, cancer or diabetes; mental health remains the most neglected field in Pakistan.
These alarming figures and the need to promote more public awareness for improved diagnosis and effective mental health treatments in Pakistan was highlighted by Aslam Shaikh, Country Manager for Lundbeck during a ceremony held to mark Lundbeck’s 100th anniversary, hosted by the Embassy of Denmark. “In Pakistan, it is very unfortunate that due to shortage of mental health professionals, mental health facilities and relatively low levels of awareness about mental disorders, millions of people and their families suffer every day”, said Mr. Sheikh. He also noted that in countries where people are facing social and security challenges such as in Pakistan, one sees an increase in anxiety, stress, and trauma, which are contributing factors to the development of mental health issues.
Shaikh shared that Lundbeck established the Lundbeck Institute in 1997 to help reduce the global burden of brain disease by educating healthcare professionals worldwide – and that they were also working with mental health professionals in Pakistan to raise awareness, reduce stigma and contribute to education and better understanding of brain disease in Pakistan.
Addressing the guests, Helle Nielsen, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy said: “Lundbeck is an excellent example of a company that provides sophisticated pharmaceutical remedies to people all over the world, including in Pakistan. Even today, 100 years later, Lundbeck continues to develop products that help patients and societal progression. For any company, the ability to stay relevant and provide value to customers for a century is an extraordinary accomplishment. By hosting this anniversary, we want to acknowledge how Lundbeck has helped hundreds of millions of people and how they have set out to be authentic and true to their values and roots”.
Eminent Psychiatrist Prof. Fareed Aslam Minhas, Head of The Institute of Psychiatry, WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Training and Research, Benazir Bhutto Hospital Rawalpindi also spoke on the occasion and said: “There is a need for integration of health professionals, industry and policy makers to devise a strategy for better mental health in Pakistan”.
The event was well attended by prominent psychiatrics, doctors, health officials and other key stakeholders.