The project is expected to improve access to mental health facilities in Morocco and raise awareness about their importance.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI inaugurated the construction works on a psychiatric hospital in Agadir, central Morocco, on Friday, February 7.
The project is part of Agadir’s 2020-2024 urban development program, launched on Tuesday, February 4.
The hospital would be the first of its kind in the city and will cost MAD 55 million (around €5.19 million).
The investment aims to develop hospital infrastructure, strengthen primary health services, and bring them closer to the region’s population. It also seeks to promote psychiatry, medical, and paramedical training, and improve the care of patients with mental disorders.
The project is in line with the strategy of the Health Ministry aiming to create regional hospitals specializing in psychiatry. The national initiative includes two psychiatric hospitals in Kenitra, northern Morocco, and Kelaat Sraghna, central Morocco.
The new Agadir hospital will have a capacity of 120 beds and will cover an area of 25,097 square meters. Its facilities include a day hospital, along with psychiatry, child psychiatry, and geriatrics services.
The hospital will also include units for forensic medicine and addiction, an outpatient department, a hospitalization center, and an emergency unit.
The psychiatric establishment is set to complement the psychiatry services in the provincial hospitals of Inezgane, Taroudant, and Tiznit, and the addiction center in Agadir.
Agadir University Hospital Center
The hospital will be part of the construction project of Agadir University Hospital Center (CHU), launched in 2019.
Construction works of the Agadir CHU currently reached an overall completion rate of 32%. The project has a budget of MAD 2.33 billion (about €220.06 million) and covers a total area of 127,196 square meters.
The CHU, located near the medical school, will have a total capacity of 867 beds. Its facilities will include a day hospital, along with endoscopy, angiography, and nephrology services.
The health facility will also include a hospitalization center, an emergency department, a short-term hospitalization unit, a surgery center, a regional oncology center, and 48 consultation and functional exploration rooms.
Mental health in Morocco
The latest addition to the multi-billion project, the psychiatric hospital, is also part of Morocco’s strategy to raise awareness about the importance of mental health.
According to a recent report from Chams and Sila, two Moroccan non-profit organizations for the promotion of mental health, around 340,000 Moroccans suffer from schizophrenia.
The study showed that 75% of Moroccan families with a schizophrenic member don’t really understand the illness. Around 25% of those households believe that schizophrenia is caused by supernatural causes, such as witchcraft and djinns (ghosts).
About 70% of Moroccans suffering from schizophrenia have visited or were taken to visit traditional healers, herbalists, or fqihs, adds the report, mentioning that only 11% of Moroccans believe that schizophrenic people need to stay in mental health facilities.