Psychological Diseases on the Rise [Archives:1999/29/Health]

July 19 1999

Psychological diseases have become more and more common in developing countries. The doctors have pointed out that the spread of psychological diseases are mainly due to health, economic, and social conditions, and the spread of infectious diseases, malnutrition and accidents. They have also stated that the situation may become worse if we take into consideration the lack of psychiatric services; the number of doctors specialized in this field is very small and psychiatric centers are rare in towns, let alone in the country. Yemen is one of these developing countries that suffers very much from this problem. The number of governmental and non-governmental centers for psuchological treatment doesn’t exceed the number of fingers on a hand. There are a very limited number of psychiatrists, but 
they are practically helpless with the number of cases they must deal with.
To learn more about this subject, Ahlam Al-Ghawlanee of the Yemen Times paid a visit to the Psychiatric Hospital in Sanaa and had the following interview with the manager of the hospital, Dr. Mohammed Hizam Al-Makramee.
Q: When was the center established?
A: It was established in July of 1991. It was called the psychiatric care house at that time. It was very limited in its services and specialists, for it started with only one department and one psychiatrist and some nurses. The purpose of the house at that time was to take care of the psychiatric diseases in the women’s cases in the central prison. In course of time it was expanded, until it developed into this large center, and was renamed the Psychiatric Hospital.
Q: What are the services introduced in the hospital?
A: As I said, it was restricted to psychiatric women’s cases in the central prison, but after various development projects were inaugurated in the hospital, it started working on a large scale and has become a center for receiving all sorts of psychiatric cases.
Q: Who is supporting the center?
A: The center was established by the Islah Charity Society, which has been supporting it up to now, with the help of some government organizations and some business men; governmental organizations such as the health Ministry and Military Financing, business men such as Hail Saeed Companies and Al-Gharasee Companies who provide the hospital with food. There is also some support from some non-governmental organizations such as the British Council and the British Assembly, as well as some organizations which help in supplying the hospital with different necessities.
Q: How many sick cases existed in the hospital?
A: It varies, but it normally is 30-40 cases, and sometimes it increases and sometimes it decreases.
Q: How many cases does the hospital receive every day?
A: There is a separate section in the external clinic in which psychiatrists receive sick cases of different ages and from both sexes. The number of cases that come to the hospital every day are around seven to eight, sometimes they reach as high as ten.
Q: How many cases have been treated, and what is your success rate?
A: Generally speaking, the success rate in psychiatric treatment is very low, but we have some cases in which we have succeeded in treating our patients. There is no specific success ratio for every patient, and there are some complex cases in which the international success ratio is very limited. It is very difficult to judge, because there is a specific treatment fro every case.
Q: What are the means of treatment in the hospital?
There are drugs, therapy sessions, and various types of psychotherapy.
Q: What are the reasons for psychiatric diseases?
A: Generally speaking, the environment and the people surrounding you have a strong influence, besides the circumstances of the person himself.
Q: Are there any newly developed techniques in treatment of psychiatric diseases that have been implemented here in the hospital?
A: We have newly developed apparatus and techniques, and we are going to receive a new one soon which will help us a lot and is considered to be the latest technology worldwide.
Q: Can we specify the ages that are more liable to be affected by psychiatric diseases?
A: We can not specify the ages which are more liable to be affected by these disease, for psychiatric diseases have no specific time, but can come anywhere from the age of 15-50 years. Youth in our country are also liable to psychiatric diseases, which is mainly because of the deplorable and miserable situation they are in. Children are the least subjected to these diseases.
Q: Are there any activities that are used to pass the time of the sick people?
A: The hospital provides the patients with food, clothes, medicine and residence which are the basic needs. There are other activities such as reading, writing, sewing and drawing. We also have a table tennis, videos, football etc.
Q: Do you charge any fees in order to get into the hospital?
A: For examining patients have only to pay 100 and if they are coming to stay in the hospital they have to pay 1000. All the other expenses we do our best to cover ourselves.
Q: What are the main obstacles that you face?
A: The difficulties are large, for example we lack the different kinds of medicine and have limited supplies of what is available, the limited amount of equipment, and not enough complete qualified workers. There is also no contact between us and the outside world, and some other difficulties as well such as the non-existence of a library.
Q: What do you aim to achieve in the future?
A: We are planning to establish a new section for men. We also hope to get new equipment and to open a pharmacy.
Q: Any last comment?
A: We would like to express our thanks and gratefulness to the Yemen Times, which is always looking out for the afflicted and trying to comfort them.
Ahlam Al-Ghawlanee
Yemen Times