Mentally disabled found naked, filthy in Indian hospital
19 August 2016, 16:01
Kolkata - Scores of fly-infested mentally disabled patients have
been found naked and filthy at a government-run hospital in India, prompting an
outcry, a charity worker said on Thursday.
of the thin patients living in what appear to be appalling conditions at the
health facility in West Bengal state were posted on social media this week,
making national headlines.
Mental Health Rights founder Ratnaboli Ray said her workers discovered the
patients naked and sleeping on the floor because of outbreaks of bugs during a
visit to the hospital this week.
pictures cannot describe the reality. The stench was unbearable and it was
simply subhuman," Ray told AFP from Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal.
were at least 20 women naked in one ward and they had to sleep on the floor
because their bedding had bugs," she said, adding that most of the
patients living at the hospital were from impoverished families.
she had repeatedly alerted officials to the deplorable conditions at the
Berhampore Mental Hospital, housing about 400 adults with various mental
said she was repeatedly ignored, prompting her charity to post the pictures on
Twitter. "We have many times informed the higher officials about the
maltreatment that inmates face but nothing happened," she said.
Very few get adequate treatment
tiny fraction of India’s huge numbers of mentally ill receives adequate
treatment, according to studies published in The Lancet and other medical
journals this year.
suffer discrimination and abuse and often languish in facilities, in a country
where families often regard disability as punishment for misdeeds in a past
Bengal health services director B R Sathapathy said he would take unspecified
action to help the patients after seeing the front
page newspaper reports.
will send a team to assess the situation in the hospital and take necessary
steps," he told AFP of the hospital in Baharampur, 50 kilometres from Kolkata.
her workers discovered unbathed patients with flies living in their hair and
beards. One of the pictures shows three men crouching naked on the floor of a
the patients themselves have complained of a lack of basic amenities at the
hospital including clean drinking water, functioning bathrooms and proper food.
1.5 million people suffer intellectual disabilities such as Down's syndrome in
India. But experts say the figures are strikingly low for the world's second
most populous country where many health issues go undiagnosed.