The lack of qualified medical staff was felt even more acutely when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Teams of the Moldovan Institute for Human Rights (IDOM) visited psychiatric hospitals and remand prisons and found sad developments everywhere, IDOM consultant Rodica Rusu-Gramma stated in a news conference at IPN.
According to the presented report, none of the visited psychiatric hospitals have an algorithm for preventing the spread of COVID-19 at all. A patient brought urgently was placed in the same room with other patients who had stayed there for six days. This created an enormous risk to the spread of infection as the patient hadn’t been tested. Some of the institutions had separate rooms, but the sanitary facilities were common and there was again a risk of spreading the infection. In most of the institutions, the patients with COVID-19 were treated by the psychiatrist and the cooperation with other specialists was reduced.
There was a considerable shortage of consumables and sanitary-hygienic products needed to prevent the spread of infection and of such protection equipment as gloves and visors. In some of the institutions, the specialists cooperated insufficiently, but there are patients with comorbidies that need to be treated in parallel with mental illnesses.
The remand prisons also lacked medical personnel. The pandemic revealed the problems that existed earlier too, but became more sensitive together with the pandemic.
IDOM consultant Svetlana Doltu said that the Ministry of Health at the start of the pandemic made an order on the prevention and control of COVID-19 covering five of the six temporary placement centers for persons with disabilities. Regrettably, by this document the responsibility for developing institutional plans, standards operational procedures and for identifying the necessary financial resources was shifted onto the managers of these centers. The lack of special purpose funds for implementing the order resulted in the distribution of financing at internal level and the redirection of money for the needs related to COVID-19. This way, a part of the activities that were as important remained unimplemented. There were yet examples of positive practices, like at the Hâncești Placement Center for Girls.
The IDOM recommends ensuring an exchange of good practices. Methodological support, the expertise of founders and NGOs are needed not only at the central level, but also at institutional level as there is enough space for improving the quality of medical services.