Psychiatric hospitals would soon be built in all regional capitals in the country as part of plans for mental health care to be made more accessible, the Acting Chief Executive officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), Dr. Akwasi Osei hinted on Thursday.
He explained that mental health was to be mainstreamed into general health care to ensure that it was readily available for the detection of early signs and subsequent treatment.
Consequently, , the authority had plans to create a 20- bed psychiatric wings at the various regional hospitals in addition to the new 50-bed capacity hospital to be built and some beds would be provided at the district hospitals to admit mental health cases.
Dr. Osei gave the hint when he led some board members and other officials of MHA to visit the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital to interact with staff and acquaint themselves with the state of the hospital in order to evolve measures to improve conditions.
The visit formed part of a two- day working tour of the hospital and some prayer camps in the Central Region.
Some key departments visited were the seven wards made up of three each of the male and female wards, Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center, the dressmaking and industrial units and the laundry and catering departments.
Dr. Osei further hinted that the MHA had plans to move into the various communities to focus on institutional mental health care, all in its efforts of downsizing it activities.
He added that the new development was also to reduce the number of cases handled at the various Psychiatric hospitals so they could have ample time to treat persons with serious conditions, adding that the legislative instrument which was needed to implement the mental health act would be ready by the end of the year.
This he said will enable the board to institute a special mental health fund to help address the financial problems of that sector and that it had plans to decentralize the operations by forming regional mental health sub committees to ensure effective monitoring.
He said the mental health law mandated Metropolitan Municipal District Assemblies to rid their streets of mad people by taking them to the psychiatric facilities in small batches adding that this exercise had begun on pilot basis in Accra.
He urged staff to collaborate with the Authority to change the phase of mental health system in the country.
The Chairman of the Mental Health Board Professor Joseph B. Asare noted that the board had been put in place for mental health in totality and that members were dedicated to facelift mental health care in the country.
He said it was about time Ghanaians changed their perception about mental health because those with mental health conditions could be treated and therefore urged young doctors to join the mental health sector.
The Medical Director of the Ankaful Psychiatric hospital, Dr. Kwaw Armah-Arloo said the hospital was faced with many challenges which included lack of basic items such as sterilizer, oxygen resuscitation machines, and laundry machines, among others.
He added that inadequate health personal such as medical officers and midwives coupled with weedy environment, huge bills for Liquefied Petroleum Gas for use at the kitchen, dilapidated toilets, faulty vehicles and leaking roofs of bungalows and other staff facilities were a bane to its activities.
Funding from central government was erratic and this had led to huge debts and therefore appealed for support from individuals and organizations.
The Later Day Saints Church had started undertaking some projects in the hospital which included the rehabilitation of wards, fixing of some water systems and repair of some laundry machines.
He therefore appealed to the board to help better of mental health care in the country especially the Ankaful Psychiatric hospital.
Built in June 1965, the hospital serves the Central, Western and Ashanti Regions but also receives patients from all over the country with some from neighboring countries. GNA