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Mental Patients Return to Masaka RRH After Two Years

Dr. Nathan Onyach, the Hospital Director, has confirmed the development saying it followed a complete reduction of Coronavirus Disease (COVID19) cases at the hospital.
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At least more than 200 mental patients have returned to their psychiatric unit at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital.

Dr. Nathan Onyach, the Hospital Director, has confirmed the development saying it followed a complete reduction of Coronavirus Disease (COVID19) cases at the hospital. 

It is two years since the patients were transferred to Kyabakuza Health Centre III after their ward was gazetted for admission and treating COVID19 patients.  

According to Onyach, the plans to return the patients kept shifting due to unavoidable circumstances.   The hospital had planned to bring back the mental patients in December 2020 hoping the number of COVID-19 cases would have reduced but the situation worsened after receiving an overwhelming increase in admissions through 2021.  

Onyach explains that they had no COVID patients at the unit by February 28, 2022 which gave them confidence to proceed with the plan. 

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A health worker at the psychiatric ward says the patients and caregivers are happy to return to what they call home and they are settling in well. 

He says that the unit resumed has normal operations and it is as busy attending to the patients. 

According to Lucia Nakaggwa, a relative and caretaker of a patient with schizophrenia, they are relieved of the transport expenses they have been incurring to go to Kyabakuza HCIII.   

She says this will help them to see specialists at any time for mental health care services adding that the patients were used to their original ward and environment before they were transferred to Kyabakuza. 

The unit was commissioned in 2011 and meant to admit 40 patients but hospital authorities say that the number keeps on increasing making it congested.  

This specialised department receives patients with complicated cases from lower health units, hospitals, prisons and off the streets.   The staff further say that 70 percent of the patients are re-attendance cases for maintenance treatments while 30 percent being new cases.  

In 2018, the parliament of Uganda passed the Mental Health Bill 2014 into law. This is part of an effort to improve the treatment and care of persons with mental illness in Uganda.

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