Health News of 2014-01-30

Mental health patients to be cleared off streets

Dr Akwasi Osei, Ag Chief Executive of the Mental Health Authority, says the Authority is liaising with relevant bodies to clear mental health patients from the streets.

He said a systematic programme dubbed: "Operation clear the street and unchain mental health patients" is being put in place to take mental patients off the streets for treatment in two to three months and integrate them back into the society.

Dr Osei said this at the Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Programme (mhLAP) stakeholder council meeting during a presentation on: “Mental Health gap in Ghana and how implementation of the Mental Health Law will help bridge the gap.”

He explained that the move, which was expected to take effect in the next three months, would be piloted in Accra and Koforidua and scaled up in the rest of the eight regions.

He added that the operation was not for the comfort of the public but to ensure that the patients got proper treatment and an opportunity to reunite with their families to continue and enjoy normal life.

Dr Osei said the state of mental health in the country was very poor, though among the best in West Africa and that mental health patients suffered serious stigma and discrimination, health centres providing were under-resourced while human rights abuses were widespread.

Dr Osei expressed worry that in the age information and communication technology, every little situation people could not find answers to was attributed to superstition.

Mr Humphry Kofie, Country Facilitator of mhLA,P said the meeting opened windows of opportunity for stakeholders to understand mental health policies and the gaps in the mental health law.

He urged the stakeholders to synergise their effort to fight superstition surrounding mental health and protect the fundamental human rights of mental health patients in the country.

Mr Kofie said mental health was not limited to persons with severe conditions but extended to those with mild conditions which are said to be prevalent among persons in all professions.

Source: graphic.com.gh
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