On 10 October 2012, the Sudanese Psychiatric Association celebrated the World Mental Health Day. The celebration was held in Abel Al Al Idrissi Hospital. This is the state hospital for treating the criminally insane and patients who are dangerous to themselves or others. The ceremony also included the celebration of the renovation and rehabilitation of the hospital.
Before the current rejuvenation, the Asylum had a bad reputation as a prison for the insane who were kept in very narrow cells in an inhumane manner, wearing rugs or no clothing at all. No medications were given and if they become excited then ECT was the only option. Now it has become a well-equipped modern teaching hospital.
Behind this great transformation was a lady who devoted herself to that cause. Dr. Nour El Huda Elshafi, the director of the hospital, raised the money and gathered the resources to make the current changes.
The chains were broken and properly assembled psychiatric teams are now taking care of patients. The patients are well fed and enjoy recreational facilities and a healthy environment.
On 29 December 2012, a workshop was held to finalize the proposed Sudanese Mental Health Act. The workshop was attended by Sudanese psychiatrists working in Sudan, and abroad, in addition to all parties involved in mental health services and planning including, psychologists, social workers, lawyers, judges and government officials. The workshop was a success and a final draft of the law is now in the process of being delivered to the parliament to be declared.
Nour El Huda Elshafi
President, Sudanese Psychiatric Association
Director of mental hospitals for the criminally insane in the Sudan