In Nigeria, although the oil industry boom is a huge source of revenue for the government, the state is failing to effectively address poverty and provide access to care for the most vulnerable.
The Daughters of Charity arrived in 1963 and work with the marginalised and abandoned in Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso.
Thanks to 4 mobile clinics, they travel through the territories to provide medical assistance to those who do not have it.
During their visits, they observed an increasing number of severely mentally ill people wandering the streets and exposed to inhumane treatment, such as ritual killings or physical and sexual abuse.
Woman picked up in the street
In 1995, the Daughters of Charity created the Rosalie Home rehabilitation Centre to provide shelter and care for people suffering from mental illness and without resources.
"Our centre offers accommodation, care, food, clothing and a safe environment, especially for women who are not only mentally ill but also wander the streets without any support” Sr Dura Bibiana
“Through our support, their dignity and self-esteem are gradually restored. We then succeed in reintegrating them into their families and society. The men, on the other hand, are treated in outpatient units. Sr Dura Bibiana
Young mother returning to her home
At the same time, the Sisters run extensive programmes to raise awareness about mental health issues and treatment.
"Myths about devil possession and curses are now a thing of the past. Providing treatment and raising awareness about mental disorders has reduced the stigma of these people. The provision of affordable, quality care and the rate of recovery has encouraged families to bring in their relatives for treatment and follow-up. However, this rate is decreasing due to the increase in the cost of medication due to high inflation” Sr Dura Bibiana
Most of the patients are from rural areas and are at the bottom of the social and political ladder. They cannot afford to pay for their treatment in public facilities.
"The few resources we have are divided between food, medicines and toiletries. As we had no other source of income than occasional donations and medicines were becoming more and more expensive, we started a rotation system for medicines. We were also forced to ask patients to pay a minimum amount.
But many patients found themselves unable to finance this small contribution" Sr Dura Bibiana
"There has been an increase in relapses of some of our patients, especially those from poor backgrounds. It is heartbreaking to see rehabilitated patients relapse due to lack of means to pay their medication bills without even managing to eat a full meal". Sr Dura Bibiana
The aim of this project for patients from poor households is to
- Provide more than 90% of the people in the centre with affordable treatment
- Get more poor women with mental health problems off the streets and provide them with both housing and medical care
- To purchase drugs in large quantities to achieve economies of scale
129 women in residence and 112 men with diseases will benefit from this project in the Rehabilitation Centre.
Physical exercise sessions
In total, 241 sick people from destitute families will be able to continue receiving the care they need.
« Our services are open to all and we do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender, religion, colour, tribe, social or political status. The sisters work with lay staff and volunteers who are very committed to their mission of protecting the most vulnerable" Sr Dura Bibiana
Thank you for helping us to alleviate their pain
With Them, Through You
I am Nigerian and a Daughter of Charity for 35 years. I am a qualified psychiatric/general nurse and family therapist by profession for 27 years. I have also served for 9 years as a Provincial Councillor and four 3-year terms as a Sister Servant (local community animator).
I have trained in HIV counselling and DREAM project, protection of children and vulnerable adults. I am currently the Protection Officer for the Province of Nigeria and the Project Manager of the Rosalie Home Rehabilitation Centre for people with mental illness.