BasicNeeds-Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has organized a two-day training to sensitize traditional healers and prayer camp leaders on common mental health disorders and clients’ human rights.

The two-day training was organized in Yendi and Damongo in the Northern Region and attended by over 120 traditional healers, managers of prayer camps, herbalists, and personnel on mental health.

The UKaid funded programme was also aimed at strengthening a collaborative work force between the formal systems of mental health care and the informal systems.

Mr Fred Nantogma, Knowledge and Communication Officer for BasicNeeds- Ghana, said the training seeks to influence the practices of non-formal mental health professionals in order to respect the human rights of the mentally challenged.

He said “People still patronize the services of traditional healers and this calls for the need to bridge the knowledge gap between the formal health service providers to have the best possible outcome for people with mental health challenges”.

Mr Asigri Na-Waaf, a Principal Nursing Officer at the Tamale Central Hospital, said the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the mental health authorities do not condemn the work of traditional and faith based healers and stressed the need for a collaborative partnership between the two professions.

He said societies should accept persons with mental health issues and encourage them to be treated rather than stigmatizing and discriminating against them.

Mr Na-Waaf said some cultural beliefs was a hindrance to the treatment of mental health persons and advised that such cultural beliefs should be abolished to allow mentally challenged persons to be taken to the appropriate authorized places for treatment.

BasicNeeds-Ghana is a mental health and development advocacy organisation that implements and promotes initiatives to transform the lives of people with mental illness or epilepsy by providing access to integrated mental health care, social and economic services in the communities of Ghana.

It empowers individuals and their families and involve communities and partner with government and other organisations to influence public opinion and policy and enable people with mental illness or epilepsy to live and work successfully in their community.

Source: GNA/Newsghana.com.gh