MIHOSO International a reputable organization committed to providing Public Health, Social Advocacy, Capacity building Training, Sharing of Resources, and Provision of Livelihood Empowerment programmes to target women, Youth and Children in Ghana have organized a stakeholder's review meeting on mental health and development in Sunyani, capital of the Brong Ahafo Region.
The program which was funded by UKAid was under the theme: “Supporting Government to build a National Mental Health system that effectively and efficiently respond to the mental health needs of population.”
Regional Mental Health Coordinator, Joseph Yere told this reporter that mental health situation in the Brong Ahafo region is very good and all the districts in the region treat mental health.
“The case of mental health in Brong Ahafo is not alarming as there are no new cases being reported, we currently taking care of the old cases and the new ones are few, I am happy to note that families of the people who suffer from the illness also support them to seek for treatment and get better.”
He said the challenge they are facing now is shortage of drugs. “The challenge we are facing now is the drugs we give to mental health patients which is provided by the government, we don't have to give it out to them.”
He therefore appealed to government to help provide them with drugs.
He added that, currently there's no injection in the various hospitals for mental health patients.
According to Mr. Yere, the reported cases of epilepsy are rising in the region and therefore advised pregnant women to stop self-medication and visit the hospital when they feel unwell during pregnancy in order not to punish the unborn child.
Deputy Director In-charge of Administration and Grant at MIHOSO International, Andrew Chireh said the main objective of the program was to review their activities with stakeholders and basically come out with an action plan that will focus strengthen effective leadership and governance for mental health.
He said there's the need to provide comprehensive, integrated and responsible mental health and social care services in community base setting.
“We also see this activity as a mean to implement strategies of promotion and prevention mental health and also to strengthen information systems, evidence and research for mental health.”
The collaboration between Ghana Health Service and MIHOSO Int. has helped to see an increase in the establishment of mental health units in some of the districts in the region, said Mr. Chireh.
“The collaboration of Ghana Health Service, Basic Needs International and funding from UKAid, we've been able to expand the scope cover in almost 15 districts and our aim is to cover 27districts in the region.”
He cited that MIHOSO Int. have reached out to about 8,090 clients of which men clients are slightly higher than the female clients as at the end of December 2014.
He indicated that the delay in the supply of medicines may lead to a lot of relapse cases due to the challenge of procurement.
“We don't have the drugs coming in as often as we need; also one on the biggest challenge is train personnel to put in the district or sub-districts all the times.”
He added that another challenge is dealing with stigma at the community level, “People still see mental health as weird spiritual thing and they don't see it as a human condition that each one of us can have, people tend to look as if it is something transferable, but it is not transferable, you can seek for treatment like any other diseases.”
He called on prayer camp leaders to allow them blend the orthodox and the spiritual treatment instead of chaining people who have mental health problems.
Compiled By: Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku (Mr. K.O.K)