Families Complain of Dreadful Conditions in Psychiatric Hospital in East Turkmenistan

Psychiatric hospital in Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan

In-patients at the psychiatric hospital in the city of Turkmenabat in Lebap region are kept in poor conditions, their families complain. Visiting relatives provide meals, otherwise the patients receive “porridge which isn’t fit for cattle”, a relative of one of the patients told turkmen.news.

But there are plenty of people in the hospital who do not get any visitors. It is hardest for these patients, and this is seen in the attitude of doctors and orderlies towards them: the staff give them no care or attention, shout at them on the slightest pretext and even raise their hands against them. The source told turkmen.news that visitors are not allowed to go beyond the reception area – a small room with several tables, so they know about the conditions in the hospital from the patients themselves who are brought down to the meeting by the orderlies.

“Our patient is as thin as a rake, although we often visit him and bring him home-made food,” the source said. “I can imagine what those who don’t get any visitors look like,” he added. “Though everyone who has visitors tries to feed their neighbors on the ward as best they can, that’s obviously not enough.”

Insanitary conditions on the wards are another problem. The hospital building hasn’t been renovated for years and all the furniture – cupboards, tables and beds – is old. The patients and their families are already used to the cockroaches and mosquitoes, but in spring the hospital is under attack from bedbugs. According to the source, the patients are bitten and constantly scratching. It’s cold on the wards in winter and the patients have to sleep in their clothes. 

“They’re allowed to wash once a week, but only for a few minutes. The reason? Staff cannot leave patients alone for long periods; the same goes for trips to the toilet,” the source told turkmen.news.

Relatives have to bring all the necessary items for bathing and laundry. The hospital doesn’t provide anything. The source is sure that the hospital is fully provided with all the prerequisites, including groceries, but only a small part reaches the patients. A full inspection by the Health Ministry and law-enforcement agencies could discover the abuses. As part of the process it is also important to have confidential conversations one-on-one with the patients themselves.

Unfortunately, turkmen.news did not manage to find out how many people are kept in the hospital at present. We know only that men and women are kept separately. Conscripts stay in the hospital in spring and autumn while undergoing medicals.