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Historical Background

Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba came into existence on October 31, 1907 when the hospital was set up as an asylum under the British Colonial rule.The first batch of 48 inmates were admitted in a disused Nigeria Railway Building in Yaba.

Over the years, the hospital has witnessed four developmental stages. The first stage, (1907-1950) was purely asylum state. The function of the hospital was custodial i.e. keeping the mentally ill away from the society. During this period, there were padded cells and drugs such as paraldehyde, mist alba etc were prescribed by the doctors and administered by the asylum attendants. There were no nurses, no beds and beddings, no uniform and no form of psychiatric treatment.

However, medical doctors from the Ministry of Health paid occasional visits to give minimal treatment. The buildings were dilapidated and the inmates lived in appalling sanitary conditions. It was truly an asylum and its name at that time was the Yaba Lunatic Asylum.

The second stage (1951-1971) witnessed the arrival of qualified psychiatrists, nurses and pharmacist. There was an outpatient department and it also marked the beginning of Occupational Therapy in the hospital. The name of the institution was changed from asylum to Yaba Mental Hospital.

This stage marked the beginning of the progressive development of the hospital as emphasis shifted to therapy in which apart from tranquilizers, EOT and deep Insulin therapy were used. During this period, the third stage saw the introduction of qualified psychiatrist. At this time, although buildings were still substandard, treatment then was the best and the name changed from mental hospital to Psychiatric Hospital. During this stage more professionals like nurses and pharmacists started working in the hospital.

The Out Patient department was established and Occupational therapy was well developed.

The fourth stage marked the coming of the first female psychiatrist in Nigeria as the medical director of the hospital. It witnessed the beginning of improvement in the infrastructure and treatment in the hospital.

Postgraduate training for resident doctors in Psychiatry also began during this period.


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