Streets of C/R to be free of mental patient

The Central Regional Mental Health Authority (MHA) will soon embark on an exercise to ensure that no mental patient roamed the streets in the Region.


wpid-mental-patient.jpgDubbed, “Operation Clear the Streets,” the MHA would partner the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital to restore dignity to the vagrant patients on the streets and make them meaningful individuals in society.

Dr. Akwasi Osei, Chief Executive Officer of MHA, speaking at the inauguration of a seven-member Regional Mental Health Sub-Committee in Cape Coast, explained that “mental patients roaming the streets would be taken for treatment, rehabilitation and returned to their homes, thereby restoring their dignity as human beings.”

The Committee has Rev. Samuel Asantey, Head of Mercy Centre as chairman with the Regional Mental Health Coordinator, Ms. Edem Tamakloe as Secretary.

The members are Dr. Stephen Anyomi, Regional Deputy Director of Clinical Care, Mr. James Kingsley Badu, a retired Psychiatrist, Ms. Monica Siaw, Oguaa Metro Director of the Social Welfare Department, Mr. Ebo Blankson, Assistant Director of Social Welfare at Ankaful, and Ms. Constance Afful Amponsah, an educationist.

It would among other things, provide expert advice and support to the Regional Mental Health Coordinator to implement mental health plans and policies for quality mental health care. It would also organise performance reviews for all mental health services in the Region.

The Committee was also to promote mental health and ensure that persons with mental illness are given quality care with no stigma, discrimination or abuses of human rights as well as ensuring that people at the grassroots understood mental health care.

It is also mandated to liaise with the Police, and stakeholders like the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to remove patients roaming the streets of the cities, towns and villages for rehabilitation.

Dr. Osei explained that the establishment of the Regional Mental Health sub-committee was in pursuant of some of the provisions in the Mental Health Act to provide linkages to ensure smooth implementation of the Act.

He expressed worry over the increasing number of mental patients on the streets and called on the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and the MMDAs to support the Committee to effectively execute the “Operation Clear the Streets Project”.

Mr. Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, the Central Regional Minister described as “frightening” the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) estimate that about 10 percent of Ghana’s population lived with one form of mental illness, saying this could greatly affect productivity of the country.

He therefore pledged the RCC’s readiness to support the sub-committee in its efforts to combat mental health in the Region.

The Minister charged the committee members to be disciplined, responsible, and bring their expertise on board to ensure that mental health care received its rightful position in health delivery in the Region.

The Chairman of the Mental Health Board, Professor Joseph Bediako Asare, said the formation of Regional mental health sub-committees was a measure to transform the face of mental health care system in the country.

He said the sub-committee would work closely with traditional and faith based healers and provide them with the necessary training to ensure that they attended to their clients without human rights abuses.


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