Kumar Rajiv Nayan

Ara : The Institute of Mental Health, the lone mental hospital of Bihar, at Koelwar in Bhojpur distrtict, does not have its own building even after 7 years of its establishment even as the number of patients have multiplied over the years. It is housed in the building of TB Sanatorium, Koelwar.

The hospital management sent detailed project report (DPR) worth about Rs 200 crore for the new building of the hospital to the health department eight months ago but the file is gathering dust  there. The hospital also does not have basic infrastructure and amenities and the entire works such as food for the patients, cleanness, security and drinking water have been outsourced.

The Supreme Court had in 2002 directed that every state should have a mental hospital. On its direction, the Bihar government published notification for the mental hospital in 2005 and the first mental hospital of the state came into existence on the campus of Koelwar TB hospital. The administrative block of the TB hospital was remodeled and 85 bed mental hospital became functional in 2011. In 2014, the Supreme Court asked the High Court to ensure that every mental hospital has at least 250 bed.

On the direction of Patna High Court, three units of 60 bed each were established at an estimated cost of Rs 3 crore the same year but they are not yet fit enough for the patients so at present they are kept in the old building.

The mental hospital has 11 doctors including the the Director, all on contract basis, 12 nurses and 90 employees of TB hospitals. Director, Mental Hospital, Koelwar, Pramod Kumar Singh said that the hospital is working smoothly and all the facilities will be available to the patients once it has its own building. He said that number of patients was increasing with each passing day and after construction of Ara-Chhapra bridge over river Ganga, patients from North Bihar were also coming in large numbers.

The hospital management has to face problem when after treatment the patients are discharged as in some cases the family members do no take them back even as they are mentally sound.

Dr Singh said that 13,000 patients were examined in 2011 which increased to 47,000 by July 2017 adding that at present 36 female and 60 male patients were admitted to the hospital.



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