Maternal Mental Health Project Relaunched In Tamale
A project code-named Maternal Mental Health has been relaunched in Tamale to cater for the needs of mentally ill women, their children and caregivers.
The project seeks to cover about 29,520 screened mentally retarded women in the three regions of the north, Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra Regions.
The three-year project is funded by the DFID/UKAID and the European Union.
The implementation agencies are two Non-Governmental Organizations, Gub-Katimali Society and Basic Needs Ghana.
The Executive Director of Gub-Katimali Society, Sheikh Yakubu Abdul-Kareem, at the project’s relaunch bemoaned the continuous violations of the rights of mentally ill people.
He said it was relaunched to screen mentally ill women in the targeted areas and empower them to improve their livelihood.
According to him, the project will cover all districts in the three regions of the north and some selected districts in the Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra regions.
Sheikh Yakubu Abdul-Kareem revealed that his organization has so far recorded a total of 5,000 mentally ill people in the Northern Region.
The statistics, he explained necessitated the formation of 104 associations of mental health people and their caregivers.
He said, “those who have been stabilized received support to go into agro-processing, animal rearing and tailoring among other trade.”
He commended the DFID and Gub-Katimali Society’s development partners for their tremendous role in improving the livelihood of mentally ill patients.
Adam Dokurugu Yahaya, Programmes Coordinator of Basic Needs Ghana, advocated the need to ensure that no mentally retarded woman dies during child delivery, saying, “We want to cover many mental health cases associated with women.”
He anticipated that the project would improve maternal mental health outcomes for women.
Adam Dokurugu Yahaya said the project would train and support 400 midwives, 800 community health nurses and 900 community health volunteers.
“The project will also train traditional birth attendants not to deliver pregnant women, but refer them to accredited health facilities. Community-based volunteers will also be trained to identify pregnant women who will need interventions. The extremely poor mental health women will be supported to form self help groups.”
He called for deeper collaboration between the project implementers and the Ghana Health Service.
Dr. Braimah B. Abubakari, Deputy Director, Clinical, at the Northern Regional Health Directorate condemned the practice of aborting the pregnancies of mentally ill women.
“Stop aborting the pregnancies of mentally ill women. Respect the human rights of mental health patients. Stop the stigmatization and discrimination.”
He said any health practitioner or traditional birth attendant caught abusing the rights of mentally retarded women would face the full rigours of the law.
Dr. Braimah B. Abubakari reaffirmed the Ghana Health Service’s commitment to training faith-based and traditional healers to augment the services of health practitioners in deprived communities.
He decried the absence of a resident Psychiatrist at the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) and asked government to immediately address the problem.