RUSSIA

THE SUFFERING OF STARVING PATIENTS

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. Twenty three patients died and many more lost so much body fat they became easy prey to infections.

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.

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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. 

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WomenAid International has implemented various programmes providing assistance to psychiatric hospitals/institutions ranging from emergency repairs, providing food as well as hygienic and cleaning supplies. Psychiatric patients in many countries are some of the most vulnerable and needy men, women and children. With your help we could provide more assistance.

Afonino hospital staff signing for a delivery of food supplied by WomenAid.

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