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More cases

Nasik Swami
Tuesday, February 04, 2014

MENTAL disorders among Fijians are increasing with at least 30 cases seen on a daily basis at the country's largest psychiatric institution, St Giles Hospital.

Confirming this yesterday, the hospital's medical superintendent Dr Peni Biukoto said common disorders affecting the population were memory loss and anxiety.

"The cases are much more than what they were 10 years ago. We have more people coming voluntarily to seek help," Dr Biukoto said.

"Our outpatient count, which runs from 10am to 1pm, we can see between 10 and 30 patients.

"Some patients are returnees and some come with their family members."

Dr Biukoto said most cases were the result of relationship issues.

"Because this is a psychiatric hospital, most present themselves when their lives or relationships with others are disrupted by symptoms they have in most cases.

"In other cases, people come in complaining about memory problems, complaining of anxiety which, after assessment in our opinion, the problem is mild enough to be seen by a counsellor."

Dr Biukoto said only serious cases that warranted medication were admitted.

"We are managing with the resources we have, we would always like to have more but we are being realistic."

Dr Biukoto also outlined that with fewer psychiatrists available in the country, nothing much could be done as the ministry's intake was low.

"The intake of doctors and nurses into psychiatry and mental health ... the rate will always be much less than the rising population," he said.

"We are trying to make our services more efficient and trying to balance the demand from the community with the resources that we have."

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