Psychiatric & Mental Health Hospital [Archives:2003/649/Health]

July 10 2003
An interior scene of hospital section
An interior scene of hospital section
Dr. Hameed Hussain Zayad
Dr. Hameed Hussain Zayad
Mr. Fahmi al-Hakimi general manager of the hospital
Mr. Fahmi al-Hakimi general manager of the hospital
Nadia Al-Saqqaf
In the heart of Capital City Sana'a, and around a hidden corner in Al-Safiya you would have never thought that this magnificent project exists. The main sections are recently built and still it provides a variety of services from a simple checkup, medication and wards for resident patients. That is the Psychiatric & Mental Health Hospital that when it was opened it was meant to be a reference in psychiatric health in Yemen.

The People who make it happen
“It isn't a one- man's show”, Mr. Fahmi Mohammed Al-Hakimi general manager of the hospital said. “It started almost 13 years ago and during the years it was implemented and new sections and resources have been added. Islah Charitable Society headed by Mr. Tariq Sinan has continuously helped us and especially Dr. Hameed Hussain Zayad who funded building the women's section and continues to help us at the hospital. The hospital received great support from Mr. Mahfooz Shamakh especially his financing the building and opening the men's ward at the hospital. As the psychiatric situation here in Yemen is ignored and not taken care of, so it's high time something professional is being done.” He added.
Quite true, especially that just in the '70s something other than prison was waiting for the unfortunate mentally ill people. In 1966 Al-Salam Clinic was established in Al-Sheikh Ottman, Aden. Then in 1970 work started in the psychiatric clinic at the Jumhori Hospital in Aden, followed by establishing a Kuwaiti-funded hospital for mental care in Aden also.
In Sana'a, there was an attempt to establish a clinic in the Jumhori Hospital but it failed and instead of that patients were sent to prison to be kept there. Perhaps the period most active is in the late '80s and early '90s when in Sana'a a section was opened for psychiatric medicine containing 27 beds and an out-patient clinic for consultancy in Al-Thawra hospital, and a psychiatric health center for women was funded by Islah Charitable Society. In addition, there were sections and clinics opened in Hudeida, Dar Al-Salam Hospital and a psychiatric clinic in Al-Olifi Hospital, and in Taiz a hospital for mental diseases and the prison's sanatorium and a psychiatric in Al-Thawra University.

Psychiatric & Mental Health Hospital
The hospital started in July 1991 under the name Psychiatric Care Home, the time it was opened it received 24 female cases that were detained in the female prison women's mental section. And until the end of 2001 the beneficiaries from the hospitals services reached 35000 cases. Today, the hospital consists of:
The out-patient clinic that receives patients in the morning hours for consulting, medication and follow- up,
The diagnosis unit where medical equipment such as C.T. Scan 0, an encephalogram 256 channels, x-rays and a complete laboratory,
Resident patients wards for men and women supporting 60 beds for women and 140 for men, average stay here is around one and half to two and half months according to the case,
Medication through work and rehabilitation section, this section aims at enhancing patients' confidence and independency so as to support his/ herself once they are out of the hospital and carry on a normal life,
Social Medication Unit, this is a unit where the coordination and cooperation between the patients and their families is taken care of. It concerns with solving social matters of patients as per available resources,
Natural Medication Unit, mainly for neurological patients who need rehabilitation.
The Hospital has a large garden with trees and flowers and a water fountain creating by that a relaxing ambience for the patients. The hospital also has a special suite consisting of a number of in-suite private rooms.

How things work
Mr. Fahmi Al-Hakimi general manager of the hospital expressed his appreciation to the staff and friends of the hospital especially Dr. Ziyad and Mr. Shamakh who made this great work come true. “We made it a point to build the hospital according to the highest international standards so as to provide the best medication and services to our people. We have 96 staff members as for now and we are looking to hiring more as well when we can. Our hospital's mission is to make the psychiatric health in Yemen better.” He said.

Development fund
As to how the hospital operates he explained that patients are received in the out-patient clinics where they are examined and diagnosis is made. Prescription is done and patients can buy their medicines from the hospital's pharmacy which supplies medicines at very low prices in comparison with the market. If the patient requires sleeping in, then he is admitted to the in-patient section according to the case. The patients at first are taken care of hygiene- wise as they get their hair and fingers nails cut, they are bathed and given new clothes to wear. The treatment includes rehabilitation through the 6 sections available at the hospital; carpentry, carpet making, classrooms, tailoring, leather profession. There is a social unit that takes care of the relations between the patient and his family and their communication during the treatment period.
“The worst difficulty that we face always is that of patients' relatives, who precisely take the hospital as a shelter for their unfortunate ones and they really don't think of taking them back. This adds burdens to the hospital. After the patient is recovered and ready to merge into the society again, we have difficulties in convincing their families to take them back” Mr. Mujeeb Alrahman Futayma public relations officer said. “We are a hospital not an asylum!” he added.
As for the expenses, the hospital provides its services at a very nominal fee, and many of the poor patients are exempted from charges, explained Mr. Futayma.

Bed Supporting Project
The hospital has started a campaign for supporting beds in the in-patient wards. The psychiatric patient is probably the worst and less fortunate kind of patients. Not only because of the disability as such, but also because in a way he becomes a source of inconvenience to those taking care of them. Of course unless they are specialized personnel and professional people who are able to provide him with the required care and assistance to get better. Therefore, it is quite important that the hospital has sleeping facilities for those who require it. And this is the reason behind this project, especially that such patients many times require a longer period of medication. The project calls on kind people to support the expenses of one bed or more so that this facility would be available for the patients. The cost of supporting one bed is 362,500 Yemeni Riyals per year. This means that by donating 362,500 Riyals means helping all those who require using this bed during one whole year. The hospital provides supporting slips to the donors and provides them with regular reports as to the actions regarding that/ those beds. It's quite a humanitarian move to support this project especially that the hospital provides this facility to the needy for free.

Al-Thaqafa Al-Nafseeia (Psychiatric Education) Magazine:
The Psychiatric & Mental Health Hospital publishes a periodical specialized in mental health. The magazine is of 8 pages and contains a variety of psychiatric and mental health related topics.
“So far we have published three issues of the magazine and we are about to publish the fourth one soon, the magazine aims at educating people generally about psychiatric health. Our specialists write those articles and I supervise and do the editing, we hope that through reading the articles people who visit the hospital would become more aware,” said Mr. Mujeeb Alrahman Yaiha Fotaima public relations officer at th e hospital and in charge of the magazine.