The number of mentally impaired people seen walking around Port Vila has increased in just a few years.
This concern was raised by a member of the Port Vila community.
The Wikipedia describes mentally impaired as a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind, which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning and is associated with abnormally aggressive or serious irresponsible conduct.
These people not equipped to live in the community and usually end up in the streets where they receive sorts of public reactions. This makes them subject to harm and violence as they are seen sometimes with very little clothes on their body, the concerned citizen has stressed.
He said he fears the situation will get worse in the coming years.
He said he personally thinks that the government should house these people in a facility with full-time support and supervision.
“The government, community leaders and parents must not turn a blind eye on these people. It’s becoming very serious.
“These people are entitled to same human rights as a normal citizen.
“It’s important that the government does something for them, for example allocating a budget just for them”, he said.
The Senior Psychiatry Registrar at the Vila Central Hospital (VCH), Dr Obed Jimmy, said: “The government housing mentally impaired people is something that will not happen yet as it requires funding, a whole hospital of its own that needs to be equipped with specialists and staffing.
“Our small unit care at VCH currently lacks staffing,” he said. However, Dr Jimmy said it is true it has become a big issue and it is also right to say that it is not just the government’s obligation to provide care for these people but the community too.
“These people just don’t fall from the sky. They came from homes and families.
“We provide support on the clinical side by treating them for free.
“Though we have some successful stories, there are cases where mentally retarded persons were picked up by strangers or family members from the street who came dropping them off here (Medicare unit). These patients still end up on the streets after treatment.
“The community needs to accommodate these people.
“Through awareness, we have been advising families and people who know of mentally impaired person in their community to bring them to the hospital.”
The number of patients received at the medicare unit increases every year, Dr Jimmy has stressed.
According to last year’s statistics, there were over 100.