Source: Daily Graphic Ghana - The Ghana Mental Health Board (GMHB) has commended the Sunyani Regional Hospital for setting aside 20 beds for the care of mental patients in the region.
The commendation was made by the Board Chairman of the Ghana Mental Health Authority (GMHA), Professor Joseph Bediako Asare, when members of the GMHB paid a courtesy call on the management of the hospital in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region.
He said GMHA was working to provide all regional hospitals in the country with trained psychiatrists who would be readily at hand to provide care for patients suffering mental problems.
He said the establishment of regional mental health subcommittees, as specified in the Mental Health Act (MHA), was aimed at decentralising mental health care in the country.
According to him, the authority was further looking at establishing similar committees at the district level.
Professor Asare said the Brong Ahafo Region would be the seventh region to have a mental health subcommittee. He said the committees would be inaugurated soon after the full complement of its membership had been concluded.
He expressed concern over the way some traditional healers treated patients who were suffering from mental illness, saying: “It is a worry that will have to be managed and the treatment made more acceptable by removing objectionable features.”
He said GMHA would train five traditional healers in the region on the Mental Health Law, after which they in turn would be expected to educate their colleagues.
The acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GMHA, Dr Akwasi Osei, said because the operations of traditional healers could not be stopped, the authority would engage them from time to time in skills upgrade sessions.
He disclosed that the authority was working with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to bring about improvement in the way mental patients were treated and cared for.
The Director of the Sunyani Regional Hospital, Dr Jacob Abebrese, expressed the hospital’s readiness to assist GMHA to bring about a change in mental health care in the region.
He said the hospital’s efforts at providing quality health care for mental patients in the region were hampered by the lack of a psychiatrist. Under the circumstances, he said, the hospital had had to rely on the hired services of a retired medical officer.
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