The Dominican Republic, according to psychiatrist Ángel Almánzar, there severe shortage of psychiatric beds in the country. He opines this as a result of years of research into the country’s actual situation in the field of mental health and poor efforts to make changes aiming at the enhancement of the medical system as compared to the facilities for mental health departments of other countries.

According to the previous National Director of Mental Health for the Ministry of Public Health, there were 93 psychiatric beds in the public network as of last February or 0.9 beds per 100,000 people nationwide. According to international estimates, this rate in low-income nations is 1.9 beds per 100,000 people.

He continues that the Dominican Republic falls into the lower medium class category, where they should have 6.3 beds per 100,000 people, which is likewise insufficient to meet demand.

Almánzar stated that at the beginning of this year, he completed an international study in which he took part and found that the ideal number of psychiatric beds for a country would be 60 and that the least number should be 30 per 100,000 people, regardless of their condition.

Little progress has been made in mental health facilities

The former director of Mental Health expressed sadness that the plan to keep crisis intervention services available until 2020, which was left in the last government management, had not progressed when asked about the population’s challenges in getting access to mental health care.

During the country’s transition from one government to another in August 2020, nine Crisis Intervention Units (UICs) were still operational, and three more were in the process of being set up, namely those at the Luis Eduardo Aybar and Mao Valverde hospitals in San Pedro de Macor’s and San Pedro de Macor’s, respectively. The Antonio Musa hospital in San Pedro de Macor had a capacity of 25 to 40 beds.

“The lack of human resources to work on mental health is a severe issue”, said Listín Diario, expert in human behavior in an interview.

Human resources are less than the requirement

There were 1.08 psychiatrists per 100,000 people in 2018, compared to 1.4 for the region as a whole and an uneven distribution between urban and rural areas.

Under that consensus of specialists and researchers, there is a modest deficit of psychiatric beds when there are between 25 and 30 beds per 100,000 people, and a major shortage when there are fewer than 15 beds per 100,000 people. According to According to Almánzar, the nation does not have one bed for every 100,000 citizens, which is alarming and calls for an immediate action.

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