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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Sep;12 Suppl 1:85-8. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2011.601926.

Diagnostic characteristics of inpatients in a Western African psychiatric hospital.

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TankaTanka Psychiatric Hospital and Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital, School of Medicine, University of The Gambia, Banjul, The Gambia.


Little is known about psychiatric patients and psychiatric service delivery in non-Western developing countries. Therefore, this naturalistic pilot study aimed at analysing and describing the patient population treated in the Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital, the mental health inpatient facility of The Gambia. Most patients were male and exhibited a wide age range of over 40 years. There were also indicators that the hospital population consisted of two distinguished groups: a large group of chronically ill patients and a smaller group of psychiatric patients with very acute symptoms. Psychotic/mood disorders and substance dependence/abuse were the most common diagnoses. In many patients problematic cannabis use was prevalent. Such research can contribute to better understand the needs of psychiatric patients, and help to develop continuously improved service delivery and optimise therapeutic options.

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