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19.10.2002 Health

MOH to recruit retired mental health personnel

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The Ministry of Health is initiating a programme to absorb retired mental health personnel as part of measures to deal with the acute shortage and mass exodus of personnel. Dr Kwaku Afriyie, in a speech read for him at the launch of this year's World Mental Health Day in Accra, also appealed to mental health personnel who have resigned to come back. Dr Afriyie said the Ministry of health was establishing regional and district mental health units including the strengthening of community mental health programmes to help in early detection of patients. He said this was part of a programme to emphasise on home-based care as against institutional care for mentally ill patients.

According to him, volunteers were being trained in the communities to attend to these patients. He said by the end of 2002, about 70 volunteers would have been trained in two districts of the Ashanti Region. Speaking on theme for this year's celebration, "the effects of trauma and violence on children," Dr Afriyie said the country was experiencing an upsurge of violence against children.

Many of these children develop mental problems simply out of accidents, abuse and sometimes carelessness of parents.

The health minister said very often we complicate the issues by blaming these problems on witchcraft or try to find spiritual reasons for the slow mental development of our children.

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