Basic Needs Ghana, an NGO, has organised a two day training programme for Community Psychiatric and Mental Health nurses drawn from all the 13 Districts in the Upper East Region on how to manage alcoholic addiction in the region.
This is to help curb alcoholic addiction among many people in the region, particularly the youth, who are the human resource base of the country.
Basic Needs Ghana is a Non-Government Organization (NGO) that works in the developing world to end the suffering of mentally ill people, by ensuring that their basic needs and rights are respected.
The training programme, funded by the NGO and supported by the Ghana Health Service, was aimed at increasing the skills and knowledge of Community Psychiatric Nurses, Mental Health nurses, Public Health Practitioners and Midwives and other health workers to manage alcoholic dependency cases in their respective communities.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview after the training programme, the Executive Director of Basic Needs Ghana, Mr Peter Yaro said it was disturbing that the general society and health practitioners do not see alcoholic dependency as a condition that demanded support from experts.
“When you reach a certain threshold you need some level of support from professionals. We need to recognize the fact that people can become addicted and it is an issue and when it happens they need professional support and we should not attempt to abandon them” he stressed.
He said among the major reason that prompted his outfit to organize the training programme was the high consumption of alcohol in the region, particularly among the youth.
“Hardly do you move beyond a stone throw in the Municipality and its surroundings without seeing a drinking bar. Alcoholic consumption is among the factors that contribute to poverty in the region and this trend needs to be changed. Everybody needs to be brought on board particularly health professionals and religious leaders to help tackle the problem”.
Mr Yaro expressed optimism that the training programme would also help make mental health more integrated into the general health care services and also more accessible at all levels, easing the pressure and cost of mental health patients of travelling to Kumasi and Accra to seek health facilities.
Mr Akagwire Peter, Regional Coordinator for Community Psychiatry, observed that many of the motor accidents in the region were attributed to the high consumption of alcoholic beverages and said this was very common among the youth.
He said the abuse of alcoholism had led to many mental health problems and the breaking down of homes, including the lost of respect and dignity, and blamed the problem to easy access to cheap drinks, peer pressure, curiosity and parental influences among others.
“This calls for multi-sectoral approach to help address the phenomenon. Parents must play their roles well, including religious leaders and politicians”, he emphasized.