Nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital have demonstrated over the lack of drugs and basic working equipment for staff to carry out their duties.
The nurses who were captured holding placards amidst singing to drum home their displeasure at the conditions under which they work said, ‘The situation has been aggravated by government’s lack of commitment to the psychiatric hospital.’
According to them, the lack of funds which is supposed to be released by government to stock the hospital’s pharmacy and other basic tools put them and their patients in danger.
Samuel Kwadwo Hanu, who spoke to the media on behalf of the aggrieved nurses said, ‘We are demonstrating because the logistics that we are supposed to use to work are not available in this hospital.’
He added that the government had abandoned the psychiatric hospital for too long, making patients unable to get the medications prescribed for them.
‘According to the information we are having, the situation will be so for the next eight months; so as nurses we are pleading with the government to intervene,’ he added.
Mr Hanu hinted that the nurses would be forced to lay down their tools after a week, should government do nothing about the current situation.
He opined that the patients by government’s policy are supposed to receive free treatment and medication (psychiatric treatment).
‘Majority of our patients, about 80 percent are poor and cannot afford the medication; things are really bad here now,’ he said.
Mr Hanu also explained that the situation put the nurses and everyone who works in the psychiatric hospital in danger.
Dr Akwesi Osei, Chief Psychiatric at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, confirmed the issues raised by the demonstrating nurses adding, ‘Simply put, we don’t have enough medicine, none since the beginning of this year.’
He said the hospital has been running on the benevolence of other organisations who donate to the hospital.
‘The nurses are at the receiving end of this since they get attacked by patients when drugs run out,’ he noted.
Dr Osei said management has been able to calm the nurses to go back to their posts while the petition they presented is sent to the Ministry of Health (MoH) for the appropriate action to be taken.
He however feared that the consequences would be catastrophic should the nurses lay down their tools.
‘We don’t hope this will happen, but if it does, it will mean we cannot admit patients and if they go home without medicines, we can imagine the kind of mayhem that will happen in town,’ he observed.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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