Basic Needs –Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has called for more investments into Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) interventions for persons with mental illness.
The Organisation said there is an urgent need to equip mental and public health facilities with friendly SRH clinics and services for persons with mental illness.
Speaking at a meeting with actors in the promotion of SHR in Accra on Wednesday, Mrs. Lilian Kuutiero, a Project Coordinator for Basic Needs Ghana said persons with mental illness are vulnerable and they should have access to SRH information to enable them make informed choices about their health.
The meeting was organized by Basic Needs Ghana as part of its “Building a strong movement for enhanced inclusive sexual and reproductive health rights and information for vulnerable people affected by mental health disorders in Ghana” project.
Mrs. kuutiero stressed the need for health care workers to be friendly towards persons with mental illness and called on the public to assist persons with mental illness to access sexual and reproductive care especially mentally ill pregnant women on the streets.
“Persons with mental illness need to be assisted with their sexual and reproductive health needs such as menstruation, conception, antenatal care, supervised delivery and postnatal care,” she said.
She said females with mental illness lacked the drive to visit health facilities on their own, hence, the need for society to encourage them to do so.
The Project Coordinator stressed the need for stakeholders to include persons with mental health conditions in sexual and reproductive policies and programmes.
Mrs. Comfort Ivory, a representative from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said persons with mental health illness have the same right to access healthcare just as other people, saying; “everyone is equal when it comes to accessing health care”.
She condemned the negative attitude of some health workers, which mostly deter people from accessing health care services noting that the GHS was working on interventions to help reduce the rate at which healthcare workers exhibited bad behaviour towards patients.
Mr. Caesar Kaaba, Kogiziga, Advocacy Officer for Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) said health authorities and stakeholders must provide a safe space for people to express themselves and learn more about their reproductive health.
He called for a more Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) to be given to the youth to help them learn and understand more about their sexual and reproductive health.