Health News of 2014-05-07

Mentally challenged patients to be cleared off the streets

The Accra Psychiatric hospital is expected to clear all mentally challenged patients from the streets of Accra by the close of May, 2014.

According to the hospital, the exercise is in line with the Mental Health Authority Act which emphasizes the need for every mental health patient to be taken off the streets.

The programme dubbed “operation, clear the street and unchain mental health patients” will be carried out by the Ghana Mental Health Authority in partnership with other institutions.

In an interview with Citi News, the Chief Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Akwasi Osei, outlined the steps to be taken to carry out the exercise.

According to him, the hospital will start the exercise on a pilot basis in Accra.

He further revealed that the exercise will be carried out by some psychiatric doctors who would be assisted by psychiatric nurses, social welfare officials, the Police and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).

Dr. Osei said the psychiatric hospital would have to first locate where the patients are before they can carry them to the hospital adding that the patients will be sent to their respective families after they have been treated.

“We would first locate where they are and then go for them and bring them to the psychiatric hospital. In terms of uniting them to their families, when they are well, they would be able to tell us where they come from, their families, so we can take them to their respective homes,” he said.

“In their current state where they are in tattered clothes, they can’t tell where they come from but when they are treated, they can tell us where they come from,” he added.

Although Parliament passed the Mental Health Bill to ensure that standards, conditions and rights are relevant for the facilities in order to prevent the abuse of people with mental disorder, including physical and sexual abuse, most of mentally challenged patients still do not have access to basic care.

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