2 Mar 2004

Abuse alleged in treatment of Fiji mental patients

3:21 pm on 2 March 2004

A report from Fiji says some mentally ill patients have been sexually molested, whipped and had chilli rubbed on them by witchdoctors in a bid to rid them of demons.

The Daily Post reports that this has been disclosed by the superintendent of the St Giles Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Shish Narayan.

Dr Narayan says some relatives come to him to release patients for treatment by witchdoctors.

He says patients who have returned from such treatment have had whip marks, broken hands, bruised scalps because hair has been pulled out and have been sexually molested - all part of the treatment by local witchdoctors.

Dr Narayan says families with mental problems among relatives live in denial and blame possession by evil spirits.

He says because of their overpowering traditional beliefs, they turn to witchdoctors instead of seeking medical treatment and care.