Basic Needs Ghana, an NGO promoting mental healthcare in Ghana, is training midwives and nurses in the northern districts of the Volta Region with skills to identify signs of mental illnesses.
The programme is under a project dubbed, “Strengthening Community Mental Health Services to Improve Youth and Women’s Mental Health in Ghana,” with support from Department for International Development UK (DFID).
The project among others is expected to enable these first-line health professionals counsel such afflicted persons and give them directions for further help.
Beneficiary districts are Krachi-West, Krachi-East, Krachi-Nchumuru, Nkwanta-North and Nkwanta-South.
Kingsley Kumbelim, Project Officer of BasicNeeds Ghana, at a two-day training held at Nkwanta, said the state of mental health of pregnant women directly and indirectly impacted maternal mortality.
He said there were simple but important decisions that nurses and midwives could take and this would make the important difference for a client.
Mr Kumbelim, who stood in for Badimak Peter Yaro, Chief Executive of BasicNeeds Ghana, said the project aims joining in mental health into Primary Health Care and also deal with cultural attitudes and stigmatization.
Courage Ahorlu-Dzage, Ghana Health Service (GHS) Volta Regional Coordinator of Mental Health, said there was the urgent need to extend treatment opportunities for mental disorders across the country.
He said in the Volta Region for example it is thought that only five per cent of those needing treatment for mental conditions got to the orthodox treatment centres.
Mr Ahorlu-Dzage said 75 per cent of mental disorders start from the adolescence stage and these are in many cases down played.
He said the training should enable the nurses and midwives spot conditions that they probably would have glossed over in the past.
Mr Ahorlu-Dzage told the Ghana News Agency that other training projects targeting faith healing centres seemed to have considerably curbed the crude methods of handling patients there.
Johnson Idam Borno, Nkwanta District Mental Health Nurse, said cases reported at facilities in the district included depression, epilepsy, schizophrenia and post natal depression.
A total of 50 nurses and midwives attended the training session which introduced participants to common mental disorders, identification and treatment.