By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu, Sept. 8, 2020 Dr Monday Igwe, the Medical Director, Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Enugu, says there has been increase in cases of anxiety and depression brought to the hospital since the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic.
Igwe told newsmen in Enugu on Tuesday that the COVID-19 pandemic brought human and economic losses leading many to a situation of hopelessness, anxiety and depression.
He said that just as the pandemic affected the economic and physical wellbeing; it also had a lot of psychological and psychiatric consequences.
“So many people due to losses such as their means of livelihood, and even the restrictions of their movement during the lockdown has affected them psychologically.
“Some people, especially those who are prone to mental illness are developing psychological and psychiatric complications.
“It is already showing by the increasing number of cases we see each day in the hospital.
“Recently, we have been recording a lot of anxiety and depression cases and all these are as a result of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At times it is even triggered by some event surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic; some losses, some fear of getting the virus.
“Some are getting into hard drugs and substance abuse occasioned by not going to work and having ample time to associate with bad companies has affect them negatively.
“You see more people engage in taking cannabis, alcohol and other injurious substances now than before,’’ he said.
The medical director, however, said that the hospital did not have ready statistics on the rise.
“It is evidently clear that there has been a spike from our daily consulting and treatment.’’
On how the health facility coped with the pandemic; Igwe said that the hospital was initially overwhelmed by the challenges posed by COVID-19, especially on social and physical distancing “since mentally ill persons are not easily controlled’’.
“You will be saying something and will be saying something else. So, we earlier had the challenge of controlling them to maintain social and physical distancing, especially for those in the outpatient ward,’’ he said.
The medical director, however, said that the first thing the management did was to buy more canopies and seats as well as proper seating arrangement in the waiting areas and changed seating arrangement in the consulting rooms.
“We also had issues of funds for procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and where to even buy them; so we had to improvise with what we can do locally.
“The pharmacy department was mobilised and it is producing hand sanitisers, liquid soap, disinfectants and other things needed for human and environmental cleaning of the hospital.
“Our occupational therapy department has been mobilised with new sawing machines and accessories to produce local facemasks in large quantities to complement the surgical ones we can afford.
“We are spending more on buying water from water vendors daily.
“However, the Federal Government through the NCDC and UNIDO made some supplies of these essential PPE to the hospital recently,’’ he said.
Igwe appealed to philanthropic individuals, organisations and foundations to assist the hospital to overcome some of its challenges.
Naija247news reports that the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu is the only specialised psychiatric and psychological treatment facility in the South-East but the hospital also serves some parts of the South-South and North Central.