The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) has noted with grave concern the status of patients and care-givers at the Kissy psychiatric hospital in the east of the city.
According to the 2012 State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone report, which was put together by the commission, the shortage of qualified medical personnel was one of the problems affecting the effective operations of the hospital.
"The hospital had only three trained psychiatric nurses and one psychiatric doctor. The limited number of medical personnel, to a large extent, delayed response to patients," the report said.
The commission further stated in the report that some nurses assigned at the hospital refused to report for duty due to the stigma associated with working in a psychiatric hospital. "During a monitoring visit, wards occupied by patients were found to be in unhygienic conditions with worn-out mattresses placed on the floor," the commission observed. "The non-availability of a counseling unit was identified as a major challenge. The short supply of water sometimes prevented patients from taking their bath and it affected the general sanitary conditions of the hospital environment."
The report acknowledged strides taken by the government to launch the National Mental Health Policy and Strategic Plan on World Mental Health Day on 10 October, and praised the efforts of Enabling Access to Mental Health - an NGO working for the promotion of mental health rights - for providing training in mental health care to twenty-one nurses in December.
The report recommended that the ministry of health and sanitation establish a counseling unit at the Psychiatric hospital at Kissy, as well as collaborate with the NGO, Enabling Access to Mental Health, to expedite the deployment of the twenty-one trained nurses to government hospitals in the regions and ensure that they stay put at their stations.