THE SUFFERING OF
In May 1997 ITN transmitted a 'News at Ten' Special
Report on the appalling condition of the patients in the Yaraslavl Regional Psychiatric
Hospital in the village of Afonino, Russia. The hospital had not received any money for
many months. The only food the patients had received had been supplied by the caring
staff, who received their own small salaries intermittently. Consequently, the patients
had been trying to survive on potato and water soup, sometimes with a piece of bread.
three patients died and many more lost so much body fat they became easy prey to
The conditions the patients endure are catastrophic. Many of the
eighty female patients were naked and slept on bare boards as the beds had no mattresses.
The one hundred and sixty male patients were dressed in ragged clothes and most had no
shoes and complained of being cold. With no money for food there is obviously no money
for hygienic supplies so infection is rife.
Locked up, these patients are totally dependent upon services provided.
They have no way to help themselves. WomenAid could not see and ignore. So we reached out
across the thousands of miles to provide short-term emergency help and long-term
friendship. WomenAid International delivered food
supplies, including fresh fruit and vegetables to the hospital. Following the adverse publicity the Regional Authority agreed to reassume
responsibility for the hospital within a few months.