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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 43-51

Ending up in prison healthy and getting out mentally ill: Prevalence and risk factors of psychiatric illnesses among jail inmates at the Kondengui Central Prison (Yaoundé-Cameroon)


Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, Catholic University of Central Africa, Yaoundé, Cameroon

Correspondence Address:
H Blaise Nguendo Yongsi
Institute of Training and Research in Population Studies (IFORD), University of Yaounde II, Post Box 1556, Yaounde
Cameroon
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jmhhb.jmhhb_20_18

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Background: Mental disorders are a matter of great concern worldwide. The situation is particularly challenging in the developing countries given the substandard detention conditions of prisoners. This appears to be an obstacle to achieve the triple economic, social, and security goals of prisons of this 21st century. Objectives: This study aims at determining the prevalence and risk factors associated with mental disorders among inmates in Cameroon. Subjects and Setting: The study focuses on 230 convicted and unconvicted inmates being held at the Central Correctional Prison of Kondengui in Yaoundé. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study of a random sample was conducted to assess psychiatric disorders using a Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. The Chi-square test was used to determine associations at the 5% significance level, and magnitude of association was estimated using the odds ratio and its 95% confidence interval. Results: Of the 230 inmates, 80 (34.8%) were diagnosed as suffering from a mental illness, and identified disorders were related to psychotic disorders (66.67%) to mood disorders (54.29%), borderline personality (38.57%), and suicidal thoughts (24.29%). Risk factors associated with those mental disorders were mostly environmental (the general prison environment), sociological and individual (regimes governing daily life inside prison). Conclusion: Mental disorders are common among inmates. Extrapolation of our results suggests that inmates in Cameroon need transfer to hospital for specialized psychiatric treatment and services and that environmental condition of detention must be improved.


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