Lobatse — Health and wellness minister Dr Alfred Madigele says refurbishment of Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital would be carried out in such a way that the facilities would be 'fit for purpose'.
Speaking at a meeting with the hospital's management on June 17, Dr Madigele said Sbrana facilities should be difficult to damage by patients.
He said repeated damage of facilities by patients, which then required regular maintenance, was clear indication that Sbrana was not fit for purpose in its current state.
"We need to attend to maintenance issues at Sbrana through innovative approaches," said the minister, who toured the hospital facilities on Monday accompanied by a team of senior officials from the ministry.
The minister was shown broken windows, damaged ceilings and electricity cables, apparently caused by some violent patients.
Dr Madigele also admitted that he received a lot of complaints in the past from Sbrana management and Lobatse Town Council leadership regarding the damaged infrastructure at the hospital.
The minister also urged the hospital management to reposition Sbrana in order to clear negative misconceptions about it from the public.
"I believe that there is a lot of misconceptions about Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital and we need to make sure that we rebrand it.
We really need to, from the ministry perspective, help to design a strong strategy that would help to reposition Sbrana as a place like any other health facility.
Not a place for people who are mentally sick," he said.
Sbrana hospital superintendent Dr Seddie Alibusa had earlier told the minister that lack of maintenance was the biggest concern for the hospital, which served as a national referral site for mental healthcare patients in Botswana.
Dr Alibusa said the hospital was in a dilapidated state that required urgent attention.
"Hanging beams, naked but live wires, broken glasses, doors, windows, toilets, taps and sinks.
All these pose a significant threat to the lives of our patients who have impaired judgment and poor appreciation of reality," said the hospital superintendent.
He added that hanging rafters, angle bars and low ceilings at the hospital could be potential sites for patients to execute suicidal plans.
He further decried shortage of human resources across all disciplines at the hospital.
"The situation at Sbrana is devastating as virtually all the multi-professional teams are poorly staffed. One psychiatrist for 300 patients on top of the court requests for forensic evaluations is counter to the objectives of the institution," said Dr Alibusa.
He added that the ratio for all health staff to patients were far below the recommended standards, leading to poor service delivery.
Source : BOPA