By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The Laloki Psychiatric Hospital this morning shut down its operations following news of confirmed 11 Hepatitis A cases reported at the hospital.
Over 120 mentally ill patients were sent back to their families and hospital staff announced that they will not be taking new admissions. Much of the blame has been levelled against the continuous use of bore water at the health facility.
At 8 this morning, the gates to the Psychiatric hospital were locked. Medical staff gathered outside to demand attention from the National Health Department – their concern is on the lack of water supply at the health facility for the last 19 years.
In March the first hepatitis A case was reported at the hospital, but the medical staff claimed the management had withheld names of the three patients, this then resulted in an outbreak of hepatitis and now 8 others have been infected, bringing the total to 11.
Hepatitis is a communicable disease that affects the liver. It spreads through touching and in this case, is considered a high health risk for mentally ill patients, especially when they are not supervised.
Tests conducted on the bore water that patients and health workers have been consuming showed that it was contaminated with faeces or human waste. The staff are now asking those in authority to consider their health and build water supply into the facility.