The Provost/Medical Director, Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Dr. Timothy Adebowale, says 50 indigent patients have been abandoned by their families.
Addressing the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions which visited the facility as part of its oversight functions at the weekend in Abeokuta, Adebowale said the hospital management had taken over the responsibility of feeding and medication of the affected patients.
He told his visitors that the hospital, which was established in 1954, urgently needs renovation, as most of its structures were too old to serve their purpose.
His words: “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 do not pay anymore. But we need money 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.”
The medical director said the facility also suffers from stigmatisation, perhaps from the name ‘Aro’, which people had derisively twisted to mean someone with mental problem.
He continued: “Philanthropists do not want to associate with us, they do not want to be seen here, lest people begin to think they had come for psychiatric medical attention or visit a relation who has such a challenge.”
The challenges notwithstanding, he said the centre remains focused on treating, training and researching on mental health.
Adebowale disclosed that about 500 people in local communities access mental health treatment, appealing to the lawmakers to ensure they get the necessary funding to engender quality service delivery.
He also pleaded with them to ensure that their ‘outsource service fund’ and overhead cost which were already in arrears from 2016 were paid promptly.
Betty Apiafi, who responded on behalf of her colleagues, promised to intervene in getting more funds for federal-owned medical facilities, most especially teaching hospitals nationwide.
The lawmakers also visited the Federal Medical Centre, Idi Aba, Abeokuta, where the Medical Director, Prof. Adewale Musa, led them on inspection of project sites within the premises.
She told newsmen that some of the health institutions in Lagos and Ogun states were seriously contending with inadequate funding and incessant strikes.
Apiafi said following the amendment on the TEtfund bill, which she said had passed through third reading in the House, federal health institutions too would begin to benefit from the purse immediately it gets presidential assent.
To address the issue of outsource service fund, the committee promised to approach the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, to ensure the money was released to the health institutions.