At least 50 patients of the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, have been abandoned by their families and relatives,the institution’s authorities revealed.
The Medical Director of the institution, Timothy Adebowale, made the disclosure on Sunday when the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions visited the facility, as part of its oversight functions.
Mr. Adebowale said the 50 indigent patients have become the responsibility of the hospital,in spite of the difficult financial situation of the institution.
He added further that the management has to take care of their feeding and medication from its lean resources.
“In our facility here, we also operate community health, people come for ante-natal. Some of our clients are poor, and vulnerable. Many of them immediately they make the first payment for their treatment, they don’t pay anymore,” he said.
“We collect money from our clients because we have to survive. Some of them are abandoned by their relatives, and we are responsible for their feeding and medication through our lean resources. Presently, there are 50 of such cases in this hospital,” Mr. Adebowale emphasised.
He also lamented to the visiting committee that the infrastructure in the health facility established in 1954, were yearning for renovation, as most of them were ageing.
He said the hospital suffered stigmatisation from members of the public, as many people, including philanthropists, did not want to associate with it in any form principally because of its name.
“The hospital also suffers stigmatisation, perhaps from the name ‘Aro’ which people had derisively twisted to mean someone with mental problem,” he said.
“Philanthropists don’t want to associate with us, they don’t want to be seen here, lest people begin to think they had come for psychiatric medical attention or whether they had come to visit a relation who has such a challenge,” Adebowale added
He said the hospital has recorded a major breakthrough in reaching the people at the grassroots in Ogun State.
He also said despite the challenges, the centre remained focused on treating, training and researching on mental health.
The medical director said every month, about 500 people in local communities access mental health treatment, just as he appealed to the lawmakers to ensure the hospital gets the necessary funding statutorily due to it in order to ensure quality service delivery.
He pleaded with the lawmakers to intervene to ensure that their ‘outsource service fund’ and overhead cost which were already in arrears from 2016 were paid promptly.
The chairman of the House committee, Betty Apiafi, in response promised to intervene in getting more funding for health institutions, most especially federal teaching hospitals and medical centres across the country.