Senses on Tour of Pantang Hospital

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The arguments advanced over the period to pull down the old and dilapidated structure of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital became potent, true and stand to resist any opposing or contrary view with a visit to a medical facility which was originally built purposely to be a referral center for Africa. The facility holds the prospect and capacity to solve the perennial complaint of congestion at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital. It is suitable for the entire medical intake and designed to accommodate the mental ill patient in comfort.

The construction of the hospital was started by the first President of Ghana, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. After his overthrow, the facility was not continued to its architectural completion. Just as many facilities and amenities were abandoned, such as the Bui Dam and the Kotoka International Airport, so was the fate of this perfectly designed center.

The entrance to the Pantang hospital will turn any first visitor away from the facility. Appearance is said to be deceptive, and it?s true. The main gate to this grand facility is enough to get you to conclude that, hopelessness lies ahead. But upon entry, one?s shattered hope will begin to pull together. You might expect that a national center meant for these vulnerable of society, will receive the needed attention to help them reform within the right environment. But no, it is to the contrary.

With a tour guide through the hospital, it comes to any visitor the facility holds so much prospects, only if as a nation we are prepared to commit to maintain it. Strolling from ward to the other, which are distinctly separated from each with their designated Nurses attending to the needs of inmates, will raise your hope and put a smile on your face. Maintenance culture which has eluded the nation was so much evident and telling on the structures there.

Most of the story buildings which were meant to serve the accommodation needs of staff of the Pantang hospital are at the mercy of the weather. They are neglected to rot away while a nation looks on. If these structures are renovated they will go a long way to enhance the accommodation needs of the staff there. The edifice is rarely to come by in this modern time. The tour never exposed the tourist to the weather and a walk on the grass, pavement with shed is provided all over for comfort. It needs a face lift and it stands to deliver the smiles so desired. In the same vein the Administration of the hospital has exhibited the potential of the capability to run the facility if the needed support is provided. Some of the wards are well maintained especially the fee paying. But can all the inmates pay up? This is where society needs to step up benevolence.

Again, funding remains another hurdle staring at the operators of the facility. It is obstructing the smooth sailing of the hospital. Australia, for instance is learnt has budgeted for mental health at 7 billion dollars, can same be said of Ghana? The lack of funding from Government of Ghana (GoG) and support of civil society is straining activities at the hospital. For instance, water is a major problem at Pantang Hospital, with water tanks doted everywhere. They also purchase water from venders. Can?t the government assist to take this burden off the Administrators shoulder and civil organisation also offer some support?

Pantang hospital, a place many who encounter it up and close with all the senses will call or describe as a center of excellence, has some dedicated staff. These Nurses, the tourist of the Mental Health Foundation, Ghana (MHF, G) described as angels are true to the word. They are working in strenuous circumstances.

The penultimate has to do with academic progression in the field of Psychiatric Nursing. After?obtaining?Diploma certification in Psychiatric Nursing, these dedicated and committed servants to the vulnerable in society are almost abandoned in the middle of nowhere. This is a stick between their teeth. The Nurses of Pantang hospital holds on to so much hopes and are prepared to match it with service to their nation. But the condition in which the servant serves is challenging and passing to be called ?Hope on trial?.

To be a Psychiatric Nurse is a passion in Ghana. A frustrating example not worth citing but, I have to is the case of the Head of the Rehab Center for Drugs and Substance Abuse. The only means of academic progression she could receive was not a degreed in Psychiatry but, General Nursing from the University of Ghana, Legon. Downrightly, this does not add up. It will be perfect to say, she deviated from her line of duty in upgrading herself in academia. Additionally, a facility of over fifty inmates at the inpatients and a little above same at the outpatient are under the care of two Doctors. Does this define stress?

What prevents the Ghana Mental Health Service (GMHS) from opening the door to academic prospects for these dedicated few? The activation of a top-up programme for these angels (Nurses) will be enough motivating factor for them to stay on. It is emphatic these citizens are living on a tight rope of nationalism. But, how long should their patriotism be exposed to hostile conditions? They deserve better! Come to think of it, these Nurses work with patients who can sometimes be violent. The Nurses are motivationally risk insured. These are the few who have chosen to use this medium of service to prosecute their agenda of service to the nation, and not jump on the bandwagon of politics to claim they are serving the country. Undisputedly and unanimously, these Nurses deserve the best of attention in the provision of amenities such as water for the daily running of the facility. Lip service pays nothing a prize; it is rather action oriented behaviours, such as these of the Nurses of Pantang Hospital that cause positive change in society. The Nurses at this national facility are in the trenches doing real service to the benefit to the national cause.

Society must wear the face of smile again through the sweat and toil of the work of individuals like these Nurses. But, should they be left to execute this process alone? A tourist during the tour of the facility consistently had his hopes dashing against the rocks and in some instances picked and pieced them up together. This gives enough reason to say, the Nurses (Angels) and Doctors of Pantang Hospital can get society to smile again. Why don?t we offer them the needed support? Many of their contemporaries have tried to beat the challenging frustrations pertaining at the facility but failed and left. Let us help, hands on deck and shoulders to the wheel. This is how national course is fought.

Do you know how determined people live? Do you know how true patriots exhibit their true colours? Do you know how true professionals prove their worth? Do you know how successful people can impact success into the lives of others? Do you know how to give back hope to the hopeless? Do you know how to revive shattered dreams? Do you know how to put a smile on the face of society? Go to Pantang Hospital, the answer lays there.

With the determination of these few Nurses, society will smile again.

Patrick Twumasi?(MHFGH)

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