‘Chainama Hospital needs modernisation’

NANCY MWAPE, Livingstone
ABOUT half a billion Kwacha is required for the modernisation of Chainama Hills College Hospital to enhance mental health facilities at the institution.
And high levels of alcohol abuse among Zambians is the main reason for admission for psychiatric treatment.
This came to light during a presentation at the just-ended Zambia Medical Association annual general meeting in Livingstone over the weekend,
Chainama Hills College Hospital senior medical superintendent Yothan Phiri said the current design does not support a number of patient activities.
“Psychiatric wards are not adequate, with many of the wards being overcrowded, especially in the acute wards.
“The design of dormitory wards poses a challenge in offering quality nursing care and patients on sedatives are usually disturbed by those other psychiatric patients who are very hyperactive hence the need for a modern facility,” he said.
Dr Phiri cited alcohol abuse, schizophrenia, psychotic episode, mood disorder (bipolar), seizure disorders and depression as some of major reasons for admission at Chainama.
He bemoaned the high levels of alcohol abuse among Zambians saying it is the number one reason for admission to the hospital.
Dr Phiri said the current hospital design is old and does not provide for privacy of patients according to the principles of human rights and mental health.
“The new facility will expand the spectrum of specialised services and encourage provision of a combo of psychiatric services currently not provided. There is need to separate children from adults. The Out-patient department should also be able to house the laboratory, psychology, patient waiting areas and access to toilets,” he said.
Dr Phiri said the construction of a new modern facility is of paramount importance as it will help improve the physical and mental health of patients, reduce violence and provide a therapeutic environment to patients.
He also lamented the few mental health psychiatry workers and that there is need for every general hospital in the country to have at least one psychiatry doctor.
“The backbone of mental health hospitals is mostly clinical officers but a lot of them tend to move away to other attractive programnes like HIV/AIDS. More effort is needed to post doctors to Chainama to develop interest in psychiatry,” he said.

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