THE Acting Specialist in-charge of the Pantang Hospital, Dr. Anna Dzadey, has called for the establishment of model psychiatric units across the country to help ease congestion at the few psychiatric hospitals in the country.
The units, she said, when established should administer immediate treatments to patients before their situation gets out of hand and reduce the high expenses incurred by the government in treating the mentally retarded.
Dr. Dzadey was speaking to the Times after the staff of the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (under the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines) made a presentation of assorted items valued at ¢9 million to the inmates of the hospital as part of activities marking its tenth anniversary celebration.
She said the model units would also enable the patients have access to follow-up treatments, as well as help in the outreach programme of the nurses.
"The hospital authorities have had difficulties tracing the relations of patients because most of the addresses provided are wrong", she stated.
Although most of them have been treated of their illnesses, in some cases the patients' relatives have refused to visit them or to accept them back into their homes.
She said because of stigmatization associated with mental illness, patients who could have been discharged to live with their relatives and friends or in the community were reluctant to leave the hospital after treatment.
These patients, she said, continued to be a burden to the hospital's budget.
"The government has been very supportive to the hospital in its current circumstances by providing funding for drugs needed to treat patients", she stated, but added "a lot more needs to be done since the hospital has to rely on charitable and benevolent organizations to meet some of its needs".
Dr. Dzadey said that the current nurse-patient ratio was one nurse to forty patients compared to the recommended ration for a psychiatric hospital to have one nurse to four patients.
She attributed the constant resignation of nurses from the hospital to unbearable pressures of work and warned that if nothing was done the exodus would continue.
She said that projects under construction such as staff bungalows and wards which started 30 years ago have been abandoned and this compels the hospital to treat people under unconducive environments and appealed to the government and philanthopic organizations to help the hospital complete the projects.
She said for example the hospital has only two admission wards for about 150 females, out of the two wards one is used for chronic cases.
Dr. Dzadey further appealed to the public to regularly visit the inmates and interact with them, which she said was part of he healing process.