Dr Victor Bampoe, Deputy Minister of Health has inaugurated a Brain and Sex Clinic in Accra to help address challenges of mental health and sexual relations in the country.
Addressing the audience as a Guest Speaker, Dr Bampoe said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), out of the 27.1 million people living in Ghana, 650,000 are suffering from severe mental challenge and a further 2,166,000 are suffering from a moderate to mild mental challenge.
He said this means that almost 10 per cent of the population needs some kind of mental health attention.
“However, the same WHO report says that only two per cent of all mental health patients get any form of treatment. The treatment gap therefore is 98 per cent of the total population of people with mental challenges.
“This is unacceptable and we need every Ghanaian on board if we are going to successfully fight this battle and that is exactly what the Brain Clinic is doing; helping address the challenges of mental health in Ghana”.
The Deputy Minister mentioned cost of treatment and stigmatisation as the two things that prevent persons with mental challenges from seeking the needed medical help.
He expressed the need for people to be able to feel comfortable to check into a rehabilitation centre or book an appointment with a psychiatrist or therapist when necessary.
Dr Bampoe said the possibility of tagging a person as mad or stigmatising the fellow could worsen the plight.
He also noted that collaboration between the private and public medical insurance providers to address the deficiencies in the healthcare delivery is the best way forward.
On his part, this would help increase health facilities centres that are non-existent especially mental health facilities which are woefully limited.
“Mental illness as its name suggests, is an illness and as such each of us is susceptible. As individuals or organisations, we can have a healthy or an unhealthy nation.
“Removing the stigmatisation and reducing the high cost of medical intervention is a must if we are going to reduce the treatment gap of mental illness to much lower levels”.
Dr Yaw Mfodwo, Chief Executive Officer of the Clinic, said quality healthcare would continue to elude the nation unless it is seen as a viable long term business that is worth investing in.
“For that to happen, we need insurance players, bankers and healthcare professionals to come together and partner very early on in the careers of young healthcare professionals, he said.
He said the first specialised sex clinic in Ghana was also launched in collaboration with DISA Clinic of South Africa to diagnose and manage all manner of sexual problems in males, females and in couples and eventually market sex toys.
“We believe that sex is one area where the focus on health and pleasure is being lost and substituted by a focus on charismatic church morality.”
Mentioning challenges associated with setting up a healthcare facility, he said the legislation and requirements for setting up such a structure and thinks the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HFRA) should be an independent, well-staffed body which should charge market related fees for services like registration of a facility, renewal of license.
Dr Mfodwo who is also the Founder of the Clinic said the HFRA should be able to enforce legislation for both public and private institutions to ensure quality standards citing the Food and Drugs Authority as an example.
He disclosed that said the facility would provide both an in and out-patient services, adding that the Clinic wants to eliminate the negative feeling in mentally unstable patients.
He said the facility could admit 24 patients simultaneously, adding that it also has recreational space for the patients as well as professionals who would offer them better services to ensure their health is secured. GNA