9 years without psychiatrist in Guraidhoo HPSN

Photo: Fayaz Moosa

K. Guraidhoo, Maldives – The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has shared multiple concerns unearthed by the commission regarding the Home for People with Special Needs (HPSN), with the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services.

Among the concerns shared with the Ministry, based on observations and visits by the National Preventive Mechanism to the HPSN from March 6-8, included the difficulty in providing mental health care to the home’s residents.

It was specifically noted that since the initial flagging of the lack of a resident psychiatrist or nurse at the home in 2013 by the commission, a permanent solution to the issue is yet to be established.

Other areas of concern highlighted were the lack of surveillance and security, lack of training for employees, unfavourable ratio of staff to patients, as well as the general lack of documented guidelines to operate the centre and lack of nutritious food for the residents at the home.

According to HRCM, the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services has informed the commission that permanent solutions are being sought to the issues highlighted.

Since the establishment of the HPSN in the 1970s as a means to ensure social protection for those in need, the home has now become a place where patients or residents are left when the families refuse or are unable to look after the residents. As such, the centre shelters those who have recovered, but have no where to go.

According to reports, the current capacity of the centre is 160 residents, but is overcrowded with 193 residents as of present.