The Centre for People’s Empowerment and Rights Initiative (CPRI) has held a meeting in Wa to disseminate findings of an end of project evaluation to key stakeholders in the region.
The meeting discussed the sustainability plans of the Maternal Mental Health Programme and solicit the support of the stakeholders.
The survey involved 255 women attending Antenatal and Postnatal care, District Health Directors, Mental Health Coordinators and Mental Health Nurses in the project beneficiary areas.
Dr. Damien Punguyire, the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), expressed the hope that the lessons learnt from the evaluation report would lead to the scaling up of the project to more districts in the region and the country at large.
He said issues of maternal mental health had been a serious challenge to the GHS and that the project would help address the pertinent issues that had been able to identify.
Director urged Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders to continue to pursue the inclusion of psychotropic medications into the National Health Insurance Scheme to ensure the availability of psychotropic medications,
“If we really want to ensure that mental health services are free, the government of Ghana, unfortunately, cannot do it.
“So the best advocacy tool is to be able to advocate for the review of that law and then incorporating mental health into the national health insurance scheme and that will make availability of these drugs and services accessible everywhere”, Dr Punguyire added.
Madam Phoebe Balagumydime, the Nadowli-Kaleo District Director of Health Services, expressed worry about the attitude of some people perceiving every situation as spiritual and bundling their relatives with mental illness to religious leaders for prayer and deliverance.
She cited a situation where a pregnant midwife with severe depression locked herself inside a room until some staff “traced and found her in a very disturbing condition”.
She said maternal mental health was a concern and had not been given much attention.
She stressed the need for stakeholders to work closely with religious leaders to enable them get access to persons with mental illness in their camps to administer medication to them.
Mr Dominic Wunigura, the Programmes Manager for CPRI, said the beneficiaries of the project received support of sewing and hairdressing machines, capital for business start-up and sustainability.
He shared a one-year advocacy plan for the project, which was inaugurated by the Regional Chairman for the Alliance for Maternal Health and Development.
The three-year project was implemented by a consortium of organisations in four regions in the country with funding from the UKAID, Jersey Overseas Aid and The Headley Trust, with the CPRI leading its implementation in the Upper West Region.
Participants at the conference included Regional and District Health Service structures, the Regional and District Departments of Social Welfare and Community Departments.