Thousands of mental and epilepsy patient lack care

Only 1,451 out of an estimated 6,284 people in the Brong Ahafo Region with mental illness and epilepsy access treatment and psychiatric counselling.

This was revealed in a baseline survey conducted by Brong Ahafo Network of Non-Governmental Organizations (BANGO) in 2012.

The survey reports lack of facilities and absence of adequate trained Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPNS) to provide mental health services, as well as mental health hospitals in the region.

Mr Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, Brong Ahafo Regional Chairman of BANGO and Chief Executive Officer of Mission for Hope Society Foundation, in Ghana, announced this at an orientation workshop for 160 participants at Techiman.

The participants include the clergy, traditional rulers, assembly members, heads of departments, media practitioners, NGO representatives and traditional healers.

The rest are health workers from Nkoranza North and South, Wenchi, Banda, Kintampo North and South and Techiman North and South Districts.

The workshop on the theme: ?Advocating for Mainstreaming of Mental Service in Communities in Brong Ahafo Region?, was organized by BANGO and jointly funded by STAR- Ghana, to sensitize stakeholders and to dialogue with the media on mental health service delivery.

Mr Benarkuu said during the survey only 11 hospitals had established psychiatric units out of which nine were providing mental health services in the region.

He noted that due to lack of adequate knowledge, most of the people with mental illness and epilepsy could not seek psychiatric services and were left to their fate.

Mr Benarkuu explained that the BANGO/STAR-Ghana mental health projects are being implemented to advocate the mainstreaming of mental services in the Region and were expected to reach more than 8,000 people with mental related illness and epilepsy to access free treatment, psychiatric counselling and care by the end of 2014.

Mr Mustapha Maison Yeboah, Executive Director of Centre for Posterity Interest Organization, (COPIO) and Brong Ahafo Regional Coordinator of BANGO , speaking on the topic, ?Sensitization, Stigma on Mental Illness?, asked individuals, groups and institutions to ensure the protection of the rights of people with mental illness.

He observed that stigmatization has an adverse effect on the socio-cultural and economic well-being on persons with mental disorder.

These include denial of help, damage of self-esteem, denial of adequate housing, jobs and lack of self-confidence.

Mr Yeboah said people with mental disorders should be given the necessary support to enable them to come out to contribute their quota towards national development.

Mr Justice Ofori Attah, Community Health Officer of the Ministry of Health, appealed to the government to stock more drugs for mental patients because of the frequent shortages.

He expressed concern about the lack of drugs, transportation, office accommodation and mental health education in the region.



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