Videos of the wretched conditions that mental health patients are experiencing in the Santa Maria mental hospital in Annaya spread on Friday, sparking public outrage.
Photos and videos from inside the hospital showed extreme negligence, including but not limited to very poor hygiene and life-endangering health conditions of some of the patients.
70 patients were reportedly suffering from malnourishment, which is apparent in the videos. Some of them had reportedly already died.
One of the patients said that they were being fed only rice, cabbage, and apples that were found to be rotten.
Another patient was seen tied to his bed by ropes and exhibiting clear signs of malnourishment.
Rotten bread, and dirty utensils and kitchen sinks were also found. The hospital appeared infested with insects, and lighting was absent as lightbulbs weren’t available. Medicines were reportedly found expired in the facility.
In outrage, people called for proper measures to be taken to ensure the safety of the patients as their lives were endangered.
In response, Health Minister Firass Al-Abyad and Social Affaires Minister Hector Hajjar visited the hospital on Saturday.
They said the situation is unacceptable, and that the patients will be transferred to another place as the Santa Maria hospital requires rehabilitation.
The mental health facility is reported to receive 900 million LBP annually from the Ministry of Health. That is currently equivalent to $39,000.
The manager of the hospital, Joseph Harb, told Al Joumhouria that ‘he did not receive the annual revenues he usually gets.’
Nevertheless, it does not justify the absence of human compassion nor the hospital’s terrible conditions which appear to be the result of long-term negligence.