22.07.2005 Health

Medical officer appeals for improvement of psychiatric hospital

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Ankaful (C/R), July 22, GNA- The medical director in charge of the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital Dr Kwaw Armah-Arloo, on Thursday appealed to the Government, benevolent organizations and individuals to help to develop the Hospital into an ultra-modern facility to effectively cater for mental health care delivery.

He said the Hospital, which was established 40 years ago, still lacked requisite facilities such as neurological; neuro-surgical and electro-encephalographic units, which were relevant for adequate mental health care delivery.

Dr Armah-Arloo, who made the appeal at the launch of the Hospital's 40th anniversary celebration, said the Hospital, which was planned "to be a complete community with a shopping centre, a bank and schools, now lacked water supply, an ambulance and adequate staff bungalows. He observed that the mental health needs of Ghanaians was not receiving the necessary attention and urged all corporate bodies and individuals to assist in addressing the issue.

He said the Nurse population of 50, instead of 300, to cater for patients, and the inadequate number of other para-medical staff, had compelled the Hospital to use only 33 of the 500 beds, for admissions. Dr Armah-Arloo, expressed concern that the bad nature of the access road, and lack of other social amenities had made it unattractive for people to apply to work there and described the current total staff of 300,as woefully inadequate.

The Medical Director, in this regard, expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Health for providing funds for the training of some health aids.

Dr Akwasi Osei, Medical Director of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, who was the guest of honour, also underscored the importance of mental health.

He said currently, about 450 million people worldwide were suffering from various mental diseases and that people with mental disabilities occupied between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of hospital beds.

Dr Osei said the Sector Ministry; the Ghana Health Service and the various Psychiatric Hospitals were collaborating to train more Mental Health Nurses to enable them to give optimum health care to mental patients.

The Central Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Aaron Ofei urged Ghanaians to disabuse their minds of the notion that mental health workers also become mentally ill, when they worked in such facility for a lengthy period.

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