Nkawkaw (E/R), Feb. 13, GNA - Pope Benedict the XVI, has called on religious communities within the Catholic Church to bear witness to the tender mercy of God towards the mentally ill.
In a message to mark the 14th World Day of the Sick on Saturday, which targeted the mentally ill, he noted that in many countries, there was lack of legislation for the care of mental patients or the victims of terrible natural catastrophes, prolonged armed conflicts, acts of terrorism or mass deaths, which triggered psychological traumas for many survivors.
The message was read by Rev. Father Alex Bobby Benson, the Director of the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), Koforidua, at a church service organized by Catholic Health Institutions in the Koforidua Diocese to mark the occasion at the Nkawkaw Holy Family Hospital.
The Pope mentioned situations such as loneliness, undermining and even breaking up traditional forms of social cohesion, starting with the family institution, marginalising the sick, especially the mentally ill, "who are often considered as a burden on the family and community." He expressed concern that the social context did not always accept the mentally ill "with their limitations", noting that, "this is another reason why difficulties are encountered in securing the human and financial resources that are needed for the mentally ill".
Pope Benedict called for laws and programmes that would provide resources for the care and support of the mentally ill.
The Pontiff lauded those, who in different ways and capacities, worked so that the spirit of solidarity was not lacking, noting that, "people persevere in taking care of these brothers and sisters of ours, finding inspiration in human and Gospel-based ideals and principles."
Pope Benedict also urged pastoral workers and voluntary associations to support in practical ways, those families, who have mentally ill people and hoped the culture of acceptance and sharing would grow and spread to them.
"Every Christian, according to his specific duty and responsibility, was called to make his contribution so that the dignity of these brothers and sisters may be recognized, respected and promoted", he stressed.
The Kwahu West District Chief Executive, Nana Kofi Kese, in an address read on his behalf, referred to the local theme for the celebration: "Sustaining Health Care for the Poor: Innovative Approaches in a Changing Environment", and announced that the district had put in place measures to bring health care at the door steps for the poor. This include intensified activities for environmental sanitation, provision of support for people living with HIV/AIDS, encouraging people to register with the Okwahuman Health Insurance Scheme and training of more health workers.
Earlier, the Principal Medical Officer of the Holy Family Hospital, Dr Kwasi Amuzu, urged church health workers to use the occasion to renew their commitment to demonstrate love, comfort and support for the less fortunate ones to relieve them of pains and suffering.
The Chief of Kwahu-Praso, Nana Adarkwa Boadi Yiadom II, who chaired the function, called on the people to register with the National Health Insurance Scheme to help each other in times of sickness, rather than wasting funds at funerals.
He also urged health workers to be patient towards the sick, who called at their facilities.
One million cedis was realised in an appeal for funds towards the sick and needy at the hospital.