The department of psychiatry in the Hulpstadsverband Batavia (TropenMuseum nr 60014664.jpg)
In order to reorganize the mental health care in the NI, two new types of psychiatric facilities were introduced in the 1920s:
- the psychiatric nursing home (Psychiatrisch verpleegtehuis) for long-stay patients. The health statistics of 1938 mention 6 psychiatric nursing homes (Palembang, Padang, Bandjermasin, Manado, Bangli and Soekolilo).
- the psychiatric passage home (Psychiatrisch doorgangshuis) for the treatment of acute cases for up to six months.
The health statistics of 1937 mention 6 ‘doorgangshuizen’ (Batavia (Grogol), Semarang (Tawang), Soerakarta (Mangoendjajan), Soerabaya (Pegirian), Medan (Gloegoer) and Makassar).
See for a discussion on the organization of psychiatric healthcare in the Netherlands Indies the 1937 editions of the Geneeskundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch-Indie (GTNI). Three authors (P.M. van Wulfften Palthe, J.C. van Andel and W.F. Theunissen) discuss the merites of the chosen system of 4 very large and expensive main hospitals and 12 secondary institutions. Van Wulfften Palthe (speaking as head of a psychiatric department of a central civil government hospital) and the directors of the large psychiatric hospitals have totally different points of view: vWP emphasizes that the present system is far too expensive and leads to continuance of the practice of keeping most psychiatric patients in prisons, as there is no place in the psychiatric institutions themselves.
vWP argues that the present system ends in shoddy work. Hardly a home is established at Makassar (that in due course is completely crowded) or Bali wants its own institute and Sumatra’s Eastcoast cannot stay behind. “it looks as if we empty the ocean with a tea-spoon.”
The former ‘hulpstadsverband’ at Batavia, Grogol (See General hospitals under ‘City Dressing Station Batavia’) was reorganized into a psychiatric passage home (Government Decision no. 49 of 29 January 1920). Grogol had the supervision of a medical doctor and served for the medical ressort West Java. At the start it had a capacity of 250 beds. The admission of insane persons from the province of West Java in the ‘doorgangshuis Grogol’ had an obligatory character.
The Passage Home (Psychiatrisch Doorgangshuis) Grogol was put into use in the year 1925 (See Comprehensive Atlas of the Netherlands East Indies, KNAG Asia Maior, 1903, page 232 no. 18: ‘Doorgangshuis voor zenuw- en zielszieken).
Apparently the capacity of 250 beds did not meet the real need, for in the statistics of 1938 we find a normal capacity of 402 beds for Grogol, while by the end of that year a number of 424 patients was staying at Grogol.
Nowadays, the Rumah Sakit Jiwa Dr. Soeharto Heerjan is the successor of this establishment.