Source: GNA - Nana Kweku Appiah-Nti, Regent of Assin Breku in the Central Region has raised the alarm over homeless mentally sick persons being denied healthcare and are bussed and dumped along communities on the Kumasi-Cape Coast trunk road.
“Many mad persons are carried in a car and abandoned some metres away from the towns at night hours; the act is too bad and we want the police and the hospitals…to help us get those doing that,” he told the Ghana News Agency in an interview on Friday.
According to the regent there are so many mad people than before, roaming the streets of Assin Breku and Dansami in the Central Region, but their identities could not be ascertained.
“Nobody knows where they are coming from, we only woke up to see several of them roaming everywhere begging for food,” Nana Appiah-Nti said.
A psychiatric nurse at Assin Foso who pleaded anonymity corroborated the chief’s claim and said people have reported many times that unidentified cars often carry some mad people and discharge them at night along the roads in Assin Foso.
“I have heard and observed it, some time ago we found a young lady who was violent but we could not trace her family, it was later somebody told us she is from Sefwi areas.”
“Most of the people believe the patients dumped here come from the Ankuful Psychiatric Hospital while others suspect they are from the prayer camps,” the nurse added.
But, the Medical Director of Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Armah Arloo, also told the GNA that he was surprisingly downbeat about the development.
He said patient dumping violates the country’s new mental health law and vowed to swiftly launch a full-scale investigation into the allegation.
“I will find out from my social welfare officer, he is in charge of repatriation, we have to investigate this matter quickly, I am surprised, I have never heard this since I started working at the hospital 10 years ago,” he said.
Dr Arloo said it was against the law and policy of the hospital to discharge patients onto the streets, adding that “some patients have lived in the hospital for more than 15 years, some have died there and we buried them there”.
He added that homeless mentally sick persons have full rights just like any other person who should not be subjected to inhumane treatment or be discriminated against, not even in public places or wherever they find themselves.
Mr Humphrey Matey Kofie, Executive Secretary of Mental Health Society of Ghana condemned the act and backed the move by the Ankuful hospital authorities to fully investigate the allegation and bring perpetrators to book, if the claim is proven to be true.
He said with the promulgation of Ghana’s new mental health law, (Act 846), the rights of persons with mental illness were fully protected, and urged the public and institutions to be circumspect else they could fall foul to it and bear the consequences.
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