P4-M Davao mental hospital multi-purpose building to rise next year

September 28, 2009 11:13 pm 

DAVAO CITY, Sept. 29 – A multi-purpose building worth P4 million intended for outpatient counseling, psychiatric counseling and treatment for mentally disturbed patients of the Davao Mental Hospital (DMH) will be built soon in the city.

Davao Medical Center chief of hospital Dr. Leopoldo Vega said the ground breaking ceremony for the construction was held on Monday led by House Speaker Prospero Nograles’ wife Rhodora Nograles, and DMH department chair Dr. Agnes Padilla and DMH training officer Dr. Laureen Conanan.

Vega said the multi-purpose building is just the first phase of the plans for the hospital. The rehabilitation and reconstruction will be done next year.

He said the multi-purpose building has a construction budget of more than P4 million from Nograles. The construction will start next week.

“DMH has been a service to the people not only all over Mindanao but the Visayas as well. Mental illness is a social problem and it has become a burden not only for the family but also for the government. As part of government, we need to address this problem by putting up a new infrastructure program,” Vega said.

Vega said he sought the help of Speaker Nograles last year in rehabilitating DMH.

Vega said DMH is the only facility here in Mindanao for patients suffering from mental illnesses. Some patients are referrals from provinces in the Visayas.

Meanwhile, Dr. Padilla said DMH is facing a shortage of beds and medicines, making it difficult for the facility to care for its patients.

She said the hospital receives an average of eight to 10 patients a day suffering from schizophrenia, depression and bi-polar illnesses.

With a 200-bed facility, DMH cannot cope with this number. Many patients are crammed into rooms and others even share beds, she said.

Padilla said some of the patients come from Cebu City and even as far as the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong.

She said the situation is worsened by the fact that some families refuse to accept their kin who have been treated at the DMH.

The large number of patients is burdening the facility, so much so that there is not enough medicines to go around.

Padilla said DMH gets its medicines from DMC to which it is affiliated.

Since the supply from DMC is not enough, DMH is forced to source medicines from some agencies, individuals, and even DMH personnel through donations, she said.

“But the medicines are still not enough. This is the reason we sometimes contact the patients’ families to send medicines,” Padilla said.

Padilla said she is hoping House Bill 5926, which would change Davao Medical Center into the Southern Philippines Medical Center and improve its services, would get approved on final reading on October 8.

The bill proposes an increase in bed capacity from 600 to 1,200, an upgrade of its service facilities and professional health care, an increase in its medical personnel, and the release of needed funds.

Vega said part of the provisions of the bill is the changing of the DMH to the Mindanao Center for Psychiatric and Behavioral Medicine. Its bed capacity will be increased from 200 to 300. (PNA) LDV/JLC/lvp


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