The management of Basic Needs, an international NGO dedicated to improving mental health and integrating persons suffering from mental diseases with their families has established a 74,000 Ghana cedis psychiatry unit at the Upper West Regional Hospital at Wa.
The facility would be used to treat persons suffering from mental health, promote mental health education and monitor activities of mental patients.
Mr Peter Yaro, Country Representative of Basic Needs said the gesture was to complement efforts of Ghana Health Service to promote good mental health.
He called for the development of community based mental health programme to cater for the numerous mental health cases in the country.
Mr Mahmud Khalid, Upper West Regional Minister, inaugurating the unit, commended Basic Needs for providing the hospital with the facility.
He said government was concerned about the neglect of the mental health sub-sector within the health service and had taken measures to integrate it into the public health service.
Mr Khalid said government would in addition, encourage the training of more mental health nurses to man existing mental health facilities throughout the country.
He expressed concern about stigmatisation against persons suffering from mental health which had discouraged many persons suffering from mental health problems from coming to mental hospitals for treatment.
“Sadly, stigmatisation has extended beyond mental patients to medical personnel who treat them. This has contributed to the neglect by many health professionals to be trained to become psychiatry nurses and doctors,” he said.
“We need to tackle this issue by creating the needed awareness and providing incentives to encourage students into that area of study,” Mr Khalid said.
He appealed to people in the area to take good care of their children by preventing them from the use of narcotic drugs and excessive intake of alcoholic beverages, which had the potential to create mental health problem among them.
Madam Amina Bukari, National Coordinator of Community Psychiatry, announced that six psychiatry nurses would be posted to Upper West Region this year.
She appealed to the people to cooperate with the health personnel to enable them stay and cater for mental health challenges of the people.