By Nqobile Tshili
Mental patients who say they are starving at their homes are seeking re-admission to Ingutsheni Central Hospital where food supply is better, the hospital’s clinical director Dr Wellington Ranga has said.
In an interview on Monday, Dr Ranga said due to food insecurity elsewhere, some discharged mental patients keep coming to the hospital for readmission as the psychiatric institution provides better food.
He said in mental health care matters, food is a top priority for patients. Ingutsheni Central Hospital has a total of 629 patients.
“We now have a challenge where some people no longer want to go home because they get better food here. When it comes to mental health issues there is a segment which I use which we call ‘life satisfaction’ because where you are now you’re thinking about other things in life. But for our patients, basics is what drives them which is food. Even when you meet them in town, they are not worried about how they are dressed. Food plays a very critical role in their life. This is the main thing that they want,” he said.
Dr Ranga said while some do not want to be discharged others return to the hospital after being discharged, resulting in authorities struggling to turn them away.
He said if they are turned away and they go out and commit crimes, hospital officials could get in trouble if investigations are held and it’s discovered that they had turned them away.
Dr Ranga said even family members have found ways of bringing their relatives back to the mental institution.
He said the hospital was in a stable position due to support it gets from Government.
Dr Ranga said mental health education was needed as stigma associated with the condition is very high. The Chronicle