At the height of COVID-19, mental treatment units were turned into COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres.
As they remain closed the National Mental Referral Hospital in Butabika is overwhelmed now handling 850 to 1,000 in-patients every day which was not the case before the regional mental wards were seized for Covid19 patients. This is beyond the hospital capacity.
Now the National Mental Referral Hospital in Butabika has tasked the Ministry of Health to revert back regional mental treatment units their original purpose.
Prof Kinyanda, the chairman board of trustees, said reopening regional mental cares facilities will relieve them from the overwhelming pressure from the big numbers of patients. Prof Kinyanda said ever since MoH turned regional mental care and treatment centres into Covid-19 wards, Butabika has been overwhelmed by the high number of patients.
Like other countries in the world, Uganda has been battling Covid19 where many regional and some district centres that were known for dealing with mental issues were turned into Covid19 wards.
“While many of these people are suffering from various levels of alcohol and substance abuse, those who are grossly disturbed are brought to this hospital and our wards are currently overwhelmed. When the Covid19 hit this country, various mental wards were turned into treatment centres. We request that they should be reopened so as to reduce the pressure on this facility,” Prof Kinyanda said.
Prof Kinyanda was speaking on Thursday at the commissioning of the female sanitation facilities constructed by MTN-Uganda and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
Dr Juliet Nakku, the Executive Director, National Mental Referral Hospital in Butabika also informed Health State Minister Hanifah Kawooya, that the huge numbers at Butabika hospital have made the available toilets and shower rooms insufficient for patients.
Dr Nakku said if MTN and KCCA had not come in time to construct seven latrines and washrooms, they were soon going to have a public health crisis.
Kawooya promised to discuss the raised challenges with her seniors at the Ministry so that a solution can be devised. She also extolled Butabika hospital for giving undoubtedly Covid19 results. Dr Nakku and Prof Kinyanda also raised insufficient staff, lack of funds for installing solar energy in all wards and other challenges being faced by Butabika hospital.
The hospital said it needs about 25 billion shillings every year but they get only 21 billion of which 19 billion caters for wages, hospital maintenance and other administrative costs. The other Shs2billion goes to NMS.