The Nurse-in-charge at the Psychiatric Department in the Makeni Government hospital, Nurse Mariama C. Jalloh, has confirmed in an exclusive interview with this medium that there has been a sharp increase in the number of mad people parading the street of Makeni, especially within the period 2015 – 2016.
Responding on the hospital’s response to salvage the situation, Nurse Jalloh said they have been providing counselling service to a good number of mad people that are taken to the hospital.
She said the hospital has not got sufficient facilities to take care of all the mentally retarded patients across the township, adding that in most cases where counselling fails to lessen the illness on the patient, the hospital do normally refer them to Freetown where the country’s only mental home and only Psychiatrist exit.
Nurse Jalloh said the ugly development on the streets of not only Makeni but Freetown in a whole is slowly becoming worrisome as the only mental home in the country that was built by our colonial master has a capacity to admit not more than two hundred patients at a time.
For his part, a meat seller in Makeni city, Michael Turay admitted seeing new faces of mad people every day on the streets Makeni. He said the number keeps increasing by the day, adding that their presence on the streets is very dangerous and poses death risk on residents and their properties.
He pleaded to the relevant authorities including the government and NGOs to map out strategies to salvage the recent ugly development and save the people of Makeni from pending human disasters.
“The authorities should find somewhere to accommodate mad people, take care of them and help them with some medications.” Michael advised.
A female resident, Mary Mansaray who also spoke to this reporter narrated how she once suffered from the brutality of one mad man roaming the streets of Makeni. She said she was on her way selling some fruits when she bumped into one mad man who physically attacked her, slapped her and threw away her fruits.
“He slapped me and threw on the ground my mangoes, stepped his feet on them and destroyed everything I was selling”. Mary explained.
She said it was the timely intervention of passersby and onlookers to rescue her from the mercy of the mad man that saved her from further grave brutality.
Chief Administrator at the Makeni City Council, William Alpha was also engaged by this reporter on who takes responsibility of mad people in the city. He said was not the responsibility of Council to take care of mad people, adding that it has never been part of their mandate. However, he said the Council on a frequent basis provides food and water for them, especially on Christmas Day and Ramadan.
“That is the little the Council can offer and we expect other humanitarian organizations to go beyond what we have been doing for the mad people” he said.
Deputy Director at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs for Bombali district, Josephine B. Saccoh said taking care of mad people is not the responsibility of the her ministry. She said her ministry depends mainly on government and other donors to undertake projects for the care and provision of mad people.
Explaining some of the causes of madness especially on young people, Head of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone Northern region office in Makeni, Nuhu Bah said drug abuse has been one of the main causes. He said marijuana, cocaine and the misused of other harmful drugs and alcohol has contributed immensely to destroying the country’s youth, while advising relatives of mad people take their patients to the Psychiatric department in the government hospital for counselling.