THE Accra Psychiatric Hospital is expected to be relocated to ensure safety for staff and patients.
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, who announced this at a mental health forum in Accra said where the hospital is currently located poses danger to lives of patients and staff.
He, however, did not mention the exact location where the hospital will be relocated but said the place will be safer for the patients, nurses and families of patients. He said the GHS has put pragmatic measures to improve mental health care, nutrition and eyecare delivery in the country.
Prof. Akosa intimated that there is the need to create more awareness in mental health to prevent human rights abuses at some religious and traditional healing centres.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, said the government is pursuing policies to make mental health care services one of the best in the sub-region.
Delivering a paper on the current mental health situation in the country, the Chief Psychiatrist, Dr J. B. Asare reported three major psychiatric hospitals in the country shot up from 77,688 in 2001 to 82,819 in 2002, representing an increase of 6.6 per cent.
They are the Accra Psychiatric and Pantang Hospitals in the Greater Accra and the Ankaful Psyschiatric Hospital in the Central Region.
He said a total of 6,316 of the patients were admitted last year of which 3,928 were males while 2,388 were females.
He said out of a total of 4,972 patients who were discharged, 2,916 were males while 2,011 were females.
Dr Asare said the top 10 cases admitted last year included schizophrenic illness, 1,599, substance abuse, 1,101, depressive illness, 736, hypomania, 629 and acute organic psychoses, 496.
He further explained that patients with alcohol dependency syndrome, epilepsy, dementia among others were also admitted at the same period.
He said the hospitals are currently facing constraints like low manpower, overcrowding at wards, lack of interest in the profession and high attrition staff rate.
Dr Asare expressed the hope that communities will avoid stigmatising mental patients who have been discharged and said, “we hope mental health in Ghana will receive the support that it deserves just like what other developing countries are enjoying.”