Pit latrines causing fly infestation at Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

SOURCE: OBSERVER NEWSCO, Add a fly infestation to the list of problems at the lone mental healthcare facility within the state of Antigua and Barbuda.

When properly built and maintained, pit latrines can decrease the spread of disease by reducing the amount of human faeces in the open environment, but in the case of the Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital they are only attracting clouds of flies, according to senior staffer, Ava Bowen.

Bowen said that the Department of Public Works replaced the two flushing toilets meant for patients at the hospital with pit latrines a few weeks ago.

“They built some toilets with cement, and they fit them over where the [flushing] toilets were, and that has caused a fly infestation for the longest while, and the odour is terrible,” she told Observer.

The flushing toilets were apparently replaced after years of constantly being destroyed by patients at the hospital.

But Bowen said the toilets have no covers, and they are not sealed in a way that allows urine and faeces to be cleaned easily. This is contributing to an “offensive smell” emanating from the bathrooms, and permeating parts of the building.

It is not clear whether the toilets were replaced as a response to complaints by the workers who protested for several weeks earlier this year over unpaid overtime and poor working conditions, including a lack of running water.

When Observer reached out to Julienne Mannix, the Senior Public Health Inspector with responsibility for Clarevue, she said she was not aware of the situation but pledged to investigate the matter.

Public Works Minister Lennox Weston said he would have to speak with his department before commenting.