By Mary Karugaba
The National Referral Psychiatric Hospital, Butabika no longer keep patients for a long time.
The acting Executive Director Dr. David Basangwa told MPs on Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the Hospital’s new policy does not allow keeping patients for a long time.
“When they (patients) are admitted, they receive treatment and taken back to the community where they came from after assessing their conditions. We believe that each one of them has somewhere they came from. They are not allowed to stay in the Hospital for long,” he said.
MP Alex Byarugaba however noted that the hospital’s new policy was not well thought and needs revision.
“Our voters have complained to us on several occasions that patients taken to Butabika hospital escape and get back on the streets. Some go back to their old violent ways and terrorize their relatives,” Byarugaba noted.
Basangwa explained that it is very difficult to keep all the patients in Butabika hospital because” they are always struggling to escape and go back home.”
“Most of them do not believe that they are sick and therefore continuously struggle to escape. However, we appeal to the community that when they see a mental patient on the streets in our uniform, please let us know and we shall pick them. Most of them are not that violent unless they are disturbed or called names,” he said.
Basangwa said that despite the limited human resource and infrastructure, the hospital’s outpatient section receives between 120 to 150 patients per day compared to 80 patients last month. Of these, about 18 patients are admitted on daily basis. Currently, the Hospital has a population of over 700 patients, with male patients contributing the largest number.
He said early studies have shown that parents contribute a lot to the possible causes of mental illnesses.
“Our research has indicated that parents are now becoming a major cause of mental illness. This is because they are aggressive to children. We shall share these new findings when the research is complete,” he said.
He said the increasing trend of mental illness is not in Uganda only but world over. “World over, studies have shown that by 2020, mental illness will be 2nd most disease affecting people,” he said.