Public health aspects of mental health care: implications and risks in a state owned southern Nigerian Psychiatric Hospital
Public health issues appear often ignored in hospital settings and lack of public health infrastructure like basic hygiene facilities, being part of basic human requirement, affects the quality of life and patient’s physical and mental health states and outcomes. This cross-sectional descriptive study examined the often-neglected public health aspects of mental health care as exemplified by the risks associated with environmental health neglect in a state- owned psychiatric hospital in South-south Nigeria. Data was collected using the National Health Management Information System-based Health Facility Daily Attendance Register (Version 2013), while Hospital In-patient Facilities Checklist (for Psychiatric Units) was used for facility assessment and its compliance to standards. The data analysis was done using SPSS software Version 17. Results showed deficiencies in environmental health infrastructure like absence of toilet facilities, window panes and mosquito nets and protocol/facilities for handling sharps, as well as lack of bed-sheets or laundry facilities and inadequate beds; with many patients lying on the ground. The common infections recorded in the hospital were malaria (13.5%), acute gastroenteritis (9.4%), and those affecting the skin (8.5%). Thus, new policies that would favour good infrastructure and high standard of environmental hygiene in psychiatric hospitals are suggested to improve patient outcome.
Keywords: Public, health risk, neglect, psychiatric hospital