Ibn Nafis Hospital in Marrakech has just acquired a new hospital structure dedicated to mental health. The Ennassim day psychotherapy center, which has been operating for more than eight months, aims to help reduce the pressing demand in terms of psychiatric health by trying to offer better conditions for the care of patients.
The experience is exemplary. She would like to offer a wide variety of treatments without having to bear the significant costs of a full-time hospitalization, thereby subscribing to a preventive, therapeutic and re-adaptive approach for patients.
However, if the concept and the intentions are good, the reality is different. This new structure has only 10 beds and a team of 5 nurses, a major and a single psychologist. A taste of water in an ocean of requests for care. “It is true that the number of beds is insufficient, but it is already a step. Before, there was nothing, “said Professor Mhamed Harif, director of the Mohammed VI CHU in Marrakech. For him, increasing litter capacity requires more financial and human resources, which are lacking today.
A situation that does not concern only this new center but all of the specialized medical infrastructures, which speaks volumes about the delay accumulated in the implementation of the four-year plan (2012-2016), aimed at improving the situation. Indeed, this has hardly seemed to budge since the launch of this strategic vision which has given itself the aim of restructuring the sector while respecting the mechanisms relayed by the multiple international conventions included in the framework of respect for human rights. Man and in particular the fight against discrimination and the stigmatization of mental illness and patients. According to several professionals in the sector, the ills of mental health remain the same: insufficient number of doctors and nurses, deficit in litter capacity, lack of drugs and the list goes on.According to specialists, the country still has 320 practicing psychiatrists, one practitioner per 100,000 inhabitants. Many of these doctors are concentrated on the El-Jadida-Kénitra axis, while nearly 14 provinces have neither psychiatrists nor psychiatric institutions. “In some hospitals, there is only one psychiatrist for 30 or more patients. Same observation at the level of the nurses. Worse, every nurse who retires is not replaced. Today, the situation is such that it suffices for a nurse to take sick leave for all the service to be blocked, “said a psychiatrist, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mental health experts also criticize the poor hospitality capacities of these hospitals. Morocco has only 1,900 psychiatric beds for a population of 36 million, three times less than our Algerian and Tunisian neighbors. Casablanca remains an edifying example. The metropolis has only 240 beds for 100,000 mentally ill people. “Many doctors find themselves forced not to accept the mentally ill due to lack of space and this at the risk of their lives and that of those around them,” said our source before adding: “Sometimes, even when we have beds, they are not functional for lack of nurses ”.
Same observation at the level of drugs. “The deficit is enormous compared to the number of patients. Some drugs have been out of stock for more than four months, ”said our source.
Deficiencies not denied by the Ministry of Health, which is preparing to organize a seminar on the reform of public health in Morocco between the 24 and the 26 current. “We know that the needs and expectations are enormous and that citizens are impatiently waiting to see concrete results. But things are moving slowly. We are in front of a large construction site and we are trying to move forward step by step, “assured Hicham Bari, head of the non-communicable diseases department in the department of El Houssaine Louardi.
For him, the picture is not as dark as you think. There have been advances that have been made, as is the case with the launch of construction work for three specialized regional hospitals in Agadir, Kénitra and Kelaat Sraghna. This is also the case for the bill amending the Dahir of 1959 relating to mental health which seems ready to be put in the legislative pipe. “We have almost finalized it. It only remains to make the final adjustments before depositing it with the general secretariat of the government, “he concluded.