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General News | Apr 20, 2004

Brain Drain Hits Pantang Hospital

Chronicle

... as 25 nurses leave for greener pastures At least 25 nurses in the Pantang hospital in the Greater Accra have vacated their posts to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

In an interview with the Chronicle over the weekend, Dr Samuel Allotey, the Psychiatrist at the Pantang hospital said averagely, two to three nurses left the hospital every month.

Giving the patient - to - nurse ratio as one to 30 patients, he said it had about 160 trained nurses who catered for over 500 patients.

He said the hospital, which was established in 1975, received psychiatric patients from all over Ghana as well as its neighboring countries namely Togo, Benin, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

The Out Patient Department, he said provided free psychiatric services as well as primary health care to over 15 villages in its catchments area.

According to him, the total number of cases recorded in the three psychiatrist hospitals increased to 14.8% He explained that the number had increased from 83,260 in 2002 to 95,643 in 2003.

Dr Allotey noted that the types of mental disorders recorded most were schizophrenia, depression, substance and alcohol abuse interalia.

Defining schizophrenia, he said it was the severest form of mental illness dramatized by the lack of motion, impaired with spontaneous hallucinations and bizarre behavior.

He noted that the increase updated to intensive public awareness on mental health in the various districts and public confidence.

Through education and sensitization programmes, he stated that a lot of people reported mental illnessed to the various psychiatric hospitals.

"An increase in the number of cases recorded shows that our education campaigns have gone well to the people", he intimated.

He also said that admissions at the various hospitals decreased from 6316 in 2002 to 6185 in 2003, representing a decrease of 0.3%.

Chronicle gathered that 9 out of the 16 psychiatrists in the country had retired from their posts, due to old age.

He said that out of the remaining seven, three were with the Ghana Health Service and the last were in the medical school.

Asked what psychiatrists were doing to increase their number, Chronicle gathered that the Ghana Psychiatrist Association planned to organize a programme to educate and sensitize young doctors on the need to enter into psychiatry.

However, he said the Ministry of Health had established a college of Physicians and Surgeons to train young doctors in the field of psychiatry.

Dr Allotey therefore appealed to government to give the young doctors special incentives to retain them.

Touching on the problems of the Pantang hospital, he said it was saddled with major problems, notably inadequate personnel of all grades, pharmacists, technicians and other paramedical staff.

"We face a problem of deplorable road network leading to the hospital," he asserted.

He said the hospital had a problem of irregular utility services such as telephone, water and telephone.

"In spite of these challenges, we hope to improve on our services," Dr Allotey noted.

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