Christmas comes early for Butabika Hospital patients

More than 800 patients at Butabika Hospital, Uganda's National Psychiatric Referral Hospital were on Friday afternoon treated to a luncheon in an exciting gesture.

Liberty Life Assurance and Soul Foundation spent the day with patients at the mental health institution seeking to create awareness around mental health challenges but also bring a rare smile on their faces.

Butabika authorities said about 900 patients and staff were fed adding that it is fitting that "our patients and staff have been thought of".

"We don't know how much to say thank you to you. We are really deeply grateful for this gesture," Dr. Angella Ilakut, the head of nursing at Butabika Hospital said.

"We are so privileged to have so many brands and people identifying with us," she added.

"We'll be going into the new year with strength to build on our accomplishments and to consolidate our position," an elated Dr. Angella said, noting that the appreciation by Soul Foundation, Liberty Life Assurance among other brands would seem moving into the new year with vigor.

Dr. Angella said there is a lot of stigma against Butabika Hospital but also against the people who work there and said the Christmas luncheon given to patients and staff was a very kind gesture.

"We've been given a lot of support to move on and so we want to promise our partners and friends that we shall continue the journey."

The official capacity of Butabika Hospital is 550 but currently, we have about 850 patients. The numbers increase daily while the resources to cater for them remain the same," Dr. Angella said.

Juliet Murungi Okwi, the business development manager at Liberty Life Assurance said the early Christmas present sought to build a positive narrative on mental health and also live a longer lasting impression and smile to patients and their caregivers beyond the food items and drinks.

"We want to create awareness and help prevent the stigma that people have about this place. So we need to change the narration as to what people think about Butabika Hospital,"  Okwi said.

She said, Liberty Life Assurance Company Uganda has provided medical and life insurance services for over a decade in Uganda and is passionate about mental health hence the partnership with Soul Foundation and Butabika Hospital for this year's Christmas Celebrations

"Mental health awareness is something that we are really passionate about as a brand. And we want to put an end to the stigma related to mental health," she said, explaining," noting that "we sought to bring smiles on faces of those that, you know, seemingly have lost their way around this world or for the future."

Liberty Life Assurance Uganda and staff also delivered assorted Christmas hampers for the children with mental health challenges.

Butabika Hospital was established in 1955 and is currently the only National Referral Mental Health Institution in the Country. The Hospital provides specialized care to people with mental illness.

At the same time, it is a teaching hospital for all cadres specializing in Mental Health ranging from nursing cadre to Postgraduate students.

The Hospital also provides Out-patient services to the people from the surrounding area.

Butabika Hospital is about 10 km East of Kampala City and it is the second biggest Hospital in Uganda with a bed capacity of 550, though the number often range between 750 -780.

Presently, super specialized services have started in the areas of Alcohol/Drug abuse, Psycho-trauma and Child and Adolescent mental health care.

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