NGO Advocates Community-Based Care For Mental Health Services

Mr Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, Chairman of the Brong-Ahafo Network of Non-Governmental Organisation (BANGO) on Tuesday called for a community-based care approach for mental health services in the country.

He explained that psychiatric nurses ought to be resourced adequately to enable them undertake a more effective and efficient community programmes to reach out to people with mental illness for mental health care services.

Mr Benarkuu, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Mission of Hope Society (MIHOSO), an NGO made the call at a training programme in Berekum.

It was aimed at building and strengthening capacity of the 100 participants made up of general health workers, faith-based and traditional healers as well as prayer camp operators.

They were drawn from Dormaa Central and Berekum Municipalities, Dormaa West, Dormaa East, Jaman North and Jaman South districts.

Mr Benarkuu said a research conducted by the BANGO in Brong-Ahafo revealed that mental health services are carried out only in urban communities, whereas thousands of people with mental disorders and illnesses stayed in deprived communities.

According to the Mental Health Act, psychiatric health workers in each of the 10 regions are supposed to reach out to 12,000 mental health patients annually, he said but lamented that statistics from psychiatric unit of the regional hospital in Sunyani showed that the unit was able to reach out to only 3,000 of them in 2013.

Mr Jospeh Yere, Brong-Ahafo Regional Mental Health Coordinator noted that the psychiatric workers the various districts and municipalities in the region had no vehicle and decent offices to provide quality mental healthcare services.

He expressed concern about lack of drugs for mental health patients saying since October 2014, the government had not supply the unit with drugs.

Mr Yere observed that because of the irregular supply of drugs health conditions of many of the patients under treatment had deteriorated.

He said about 1000 fresh cases of mental illness had been recorded aside the more than 2,500 patients already placed on drugs and appealed to the government to supply the unit with drugs.

Mr Yere emphasized that priority ought to be placed on mental health as many of the units in districts and municipalities continued to attend to new cases of mental disorders with the depression and epilepsy recording higher cases.

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