Patients Of The Kerala Mental Hospital live Like Prisoners

Wards that resemble prison cells are where patients are housed in Government Mental Health Centre at Oolampara in Thiruvananthapuram
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Wards that resemble prison cells are where patients are housed in Government Mental Health Centre at Oolampara in Thiruvananthapuram

Highlights

  • A patient with a violent disposition is housed in a 6FT X 8FT cell that is worse than those found in the state's primary jails.
  • Some cells had windows, but they were all covered with iron grilles with mesh, preventing air movement and limiting sunlight.

The Government Mental Health Centre at Peroorkada, one of the country's recognised and oldest psychiatric hospitals is found in a critical condition. A patient with a violent disposition is housed in a 6FT X 8FT cell that is worse than those found in the state's primary jails. As of Tuesday, at least ten patients were crammed inside such cramped cages with tin roofs and iron bars securing the doors.

Some cells had windows, but they were all covered with iron grilles with mesh, preventing air movement and limiting sunlight. Inmates suffering from mental illnesses are suffocated by the darkness and terrible odour.
Wards are in poor condition, though not as bad as isolation cells, and fall far short of the National Mental Healthcare Act 2017's requirements. The wards are tin-roofed, and the windows are continuously shuttered with iron bars.
The number of people in the room is twice or three times the maximum capacity. There were 702 patients in 530 beds on Tuesday. Because there aren't enough beds, more than 200 people are forced to sleep on the floor. There is also a staffing shortage, which adds to their problems.
The hot summer has exacerbated the situation for the patients, as the rising temperature in the rooms has a negative impact on their recovery. Due to the terrible conditions, it has been learned that occurrences of physical aggression and missing persons are on the rise at the centre.
Tin roofs raise room temperatures, resulting in less sleep, dehydration, urinary infection, higher medicine side effects, and poor medication adherence. A government-employed senior psychiatrist states that recovery is frequently made difficult and delayed.
When asked about the major violations of the MHC Act, Superintendent Dr. Anilkumar responded that all complaints are being addressed in the master plan, which is supposed to develop the hospital into a world-class facility. Anilkumar added that due to the epidemic, the initial date had to be changed, and we aim to complete the Rs 100-crore master plan on time.
He explained that the PWD was replacing tiled roofs with tin sheets since tiles were regularly shattered due to falling tree branches. There were also a few instances of absconding.
As a result, we opted to use sheets. The delay in implementing the master plan, according to a hospital source, is due to a dispute between the government and Kitco over consultation fees.
Meanwhile, owing to a lack of suitable infrastructure, patients are forced to bathe in the open. In the male wards, the majority of the staff is female.Patients are housed in sheet-roofed cells with iron grills on the windows. Over 200 patients are admitted to the hospital lacking a bed and are compelled to sleep on the floor.

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