General News Thu, 30 Jun 2011
…over GH¢2.5 million debtNot long ago, the Chief Psychiatrist of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Akwasi Osei
predicted a probable collapse of the mental health system within the next three
years if steps were not taken to revamp it.
His prediction has become a reality as the management of the Accra Psychiatric
hospital has said the health facility is about to be closed down due to numerous
debts and constant harassment of court writs from materials suppliers.
The Deputy Medical administrator of the hospital, Mr. Osei Owusu said
the mental health facility is indebted to the sum of GH¢2.5 million and creditors
are in constant battle with management of the facility in court which is leading to
the closing down of the place anytime soon.
We are going to close down the hospital due to unbearable debts. We can no longer
operate with these debts hanging on us and court suits here and there, the Deputy
Medical administrator of the hospital stressed.
He stated that the hospital is just one of three mental health facilities in Ghana,
servicing a population of more than 24 million people but has been neglected by
successive governments adding that the currentGH¢2.5 debt had been accumulated since
2006 to date.
He that the hospital was estimated to spend 8.50 GH¢ (less than $6) per patient per
day. “However, that’s on paper only. GH¢ 3of that amount is meant to be spent on
food, but we don’t actually use that. It is woefully insufficient. We have to
borrow to feed them.”
Mr. Osei Owusu said inadequate psychiatrists and mental health personnel, shortage
of drugs and congestions at the psychiatric hospital and inadequate finance among
other challenges are now forcing the hospital to be closed down and warned that
there will be an increased in mental ill persons in the street very soon.
He continued that it was originally built as an asylum more than 100 years ago and
there has been little maintenance on it ever since.
The Accra Psychiatric Hospital is about 100 years old and obviously, one of the
oldest mental hospitals in Ghana. Its long years of existence has however, not
caught the attention of the various governments who come and go out of power,
according to the management of the place.
In Ghana, research indicates that there used to be about 11 psychiatric hospitals,
but unfortunately, the number has gradually reduced to three, which can be found in
the Greater Accra, Eastern and Central regions. Among these three hospitals, the
Accra Psychiatric Hospital is in the worst state, and ironically has the most number
There are 114 women on the female ward. It was built to hold 50. The female ward’s
head nurse explains that there is a patient to nurse ration of 25:1. There are women
with severe physical retardation in a ward with schizophrenics and women with
There seems to be no way of distinguishing the women by diagnosis or care required.
They are all thrown in together, with little shade to protect them and nothing more
than a straw mat to lie on.
Sadly for many on this ward, they won’t be moving on. Some patients have been there
for 40 years. Others refuse to leave, believing they are better off in the hospital
compared to the alternative.