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29.03.2008 Health

No Beds For 600 Mental Patients

By Daily Guide

The Medical Director of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Kwasi Owusu has revealed that out of the 1100 psychiatric patients at the hospital, only 500 have beds to sleep on.

He noted that the situation at the hospital at night was an eyesore, and called on all benevolent individuals and institutions to help improve the living conditions of the inmates.

Dr. Owusu made this observation in an interview with DAILY GUIDE in Accra after the Association of Yoruba Community in Ghana had made a donation worth over GH¢2500 to the hospital.

According to Dr. Owusu, “Government has been the sole financier of the hospital over the years. So if organizations and individuals can come in, it would help change their plight”.

He sated that there are several factors that give people mental problems, and not only drug addiction as perceived by society, citing depression, trauma and some diseases as some causes of mental illness.

“Of the 1100 cases we have, only 10 percent are drug related; so what about the remaining 90 percent?” he stated to buttress his point.

He said women are more vulnerable to mental problems since they usually cannot withstand pressures in marriage and relationships, adding that women constitute over half the number of inmates of hospital.

When asked whether superstition was indeed associated with mental problems, Dr. Owusu said the belief was wrong, and noted that it rather instilled fear in people which eventually leads to mental problems.

He advised that “It is not the best for society to neglect their loved ones because they are in the mental hospital. They should help in providing their needs and pay them regular visits until they get well”.

He also called on society to help do away with the stigma attached to psychiatric hospitals which sought to say that anyone who goes there for medical attention is mad.

“Only some form of intellectual stimulation is needed to bring these patients back to normalcy since their brains are not far from functioning well.”

Alhaji Razak El-Alawa, Executive Member of the Association of Yoruba Community in Ghana, presenting the items, said their action was prompted by what they saw when they visited the facility last year.

He recalled that during their visit last year, they observed that the majority of inmates had no sandals, cups, detergents, mats to sleep on, and stressed that their gesture was to “let them know that they have not been neglected”.

By Emmanuel Kubi

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