The National Health System (NHS) should develop a psychological training program focused on its professionals, so that they know how to deal with the users in an affective, patient and empathic way, without resorting to mistreatment and illegal charges.

This position was recently defended by the Clinical Psychologist Lia Viegas, in an interview given to the Citizen Observatory for Health (OCS) – in Maputo – after the publication of the report denouncing mistreatment, degradation of toilets and lack of sources of water supply at the General Hospital of Mavalane (HGM).

“Through human resources departments, we should start promoting training and awareness-raising strategies, so that health providers can learn how to deal with patients in sympathetic way, as well as to be patient with sick people”, says the psychologist, adding that professionals, when trained, will be able to know how to manage irritability during work.

“We should have behavioral training course so that patients are no longer treated as prisoners in hospitals”, she says.

According to the psychologist, the behavior of health professionals should be transformed so that health units can be safe places for all individuals, regardless of their financial condition.

“The transformation of behaviors is urgent. You’re not going to fire all health providers who don’t know how to deal with users. The truth is that the behaviors of those bad professionals must cut for the well-being of the patients”, defends Viegas.

The mental and behavioral training program, according to Viegas, is urgent in the current NHS so that some basic problems that sicken the sector are overcome.

“There is a great complaint in the public attendance. Whether in health unites, districts hospitals, provincial or central hospitals… with the transformation of behaviors, the delay in the care of users would be avoided, it should put an end to the illegal charges and, above all, would end the great violation of Human Rights and Human Dignity”, the source defends, adding that “health professionals shouldn’t be afraid to face the work they provide to the sector.”

Rigorous behavioral training, according to Viegas, will help health professionals to realize that frustrations related to salary or personal problems should never interfere in their work in the hospital.   

“Salary insufficiency cannot be a reason for the violation of consumer’s rights. You mustn’t discharge salary and personal frustrations on patients”, says the psychologist.

Using psychological theories – through accessible and facilitated language – Viegas explains that the patients, when mistreated by the health agents, resort to self-medication and gradually develop a deep depression that can lead them to immediate death.    

“From a psychological point of view, patients lose patience, leave the hospital; they get upset, their state of mind becomes revolting, they give up going to the hospital and they depress themselves for lack of technical assistance. Then there is self-medication – a practice in which the patient begins to use dangerous alternatives, taking unknown medications, in dangerous amounts”, explains the psychologist. 

“Some mix traditional and modern medication and then lose their lives. To avoid these disorders, we must have good professionals so that the users do not have the feeling that their lives are being mistreated”, she explains. 

For the psychologist, it makes no sense to deny cellphones to patients hospitalized, since the communication between them and their families can constitute an antidote against the disease they suffer from.     

“Right now, there is a policy that says patients can no longer take their cellphones with them. This prohibition makes no sense because agents want to prevent themselves from being recorded in situations of illegal acts, violating Human Rights”, Viegas denounces. 

The psychologist adds that “the complaints of users need to reach the authorities of the Ministry of Health (MISAU) so that the public can feel respected and privileged.”

“Patients should be listened to so that they no longer feel threatened or attacked by health professionals”, Viegas concludes, stressing that MISAU must invest heavily in the behavioral training of its workers so that the care of human lives can happen with dignity.  

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