The overlord of the Dagbon, Ya-na Abubakari Mahama (II) has called on government to provide the Northern region with a psychiatric hospital to help cater for persons with mental illness in the region.
The overlord indicated that, the lack of Psychiatric hospital in the area was hindering the provision of healthcare for persons who suffers from mental disorder
He made the call in a speech read on his behalf by the Nanton-naa Mahama Bawa at the 61st Annual General Conference by the Ghana Medical Association in Tamale.
“The region has no single psychiatric hospital, and for that matter, relatives of psychiatric patients have to transport their sick relatives to either Accra or Cape cost to seek care. It is not strange therefore to see lots of lunatics who could be useful in our society roaming on our streets, sometimes posting danger to other members of the society. I will therefore appeal to the government through the ministers present here to as a matter urgency to consider putting up a psychiatric hospital in Northern region to at least serve the Northern part of the country,” he stated.
The 61st GMA conference was under the theme “The health of Prisoners and other Vulnerable groups in Ghana: The Realities and Expectations."
The Dagbon King who was represented noted that when government provides the psychiatric hospital in the region it will help provide quality healthcare services for the many mentally challenged persons found in the area instead of the reliance on the works of traditional herbalists.
He called on government through the District Assemblies to establish Districts Hospitals across the region to help promote healthcare for the growing population in the region.
“I will also want to appeal to the government through the district assemblies to put up hospitals in all the district in the region to give better view in the Universal health coverage,” he stressed.
He indicated that Dagbon was now peaceful and reiterated the need for members of the Association to accept posting to the region to help improve healthcare services.
He noted “Members of the GNA, I wish to appeal to you to defy the wrong perception about the North and accept posting and come and work here where your services are needed most. There is peace in Dagbon and as you can see for yourselves, life here is not really different from where you come from, and therefore, leave the wrong messages and come and work and enjoyed yourselves here.”
The President of the Ghana Medical Association Dr. Frank Ankobea in his welcome addressed stressed the need for the country to ensure better healthcare services for prison inmates.
He said it was imperative for Ghanaians to ensure that prisoners enjoy the same level of healthcare as others enjoy in the country outside the walls of the confinement.
The GMA president noted that the Tamale Central Prison alone harbors about three hundred (300) inmates with the numbers keep escalating yearly making everyone a potential prisoner.
“Tamale harbors almost three hundred inmates at the moment; this is part of the millions of people who are in prisons all over the world. The numbers keep escalating and the potential for every individual to go to prison cannot be disregarded” he said
Dr. Ankobea acknowledged the need for citizens and government to provide care and support to people with mental health issues and also help eradicate streetism as it is one of the ways to solving the increasing social vices.
He also called on government to help improve the conditions of service for doctors, improvement in the distribution of health care personnel and putting in place promotional incentives to attract health staffs to serve in deprived communities
Former Deputy Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah on his part called for a total change in the perception of members of the public about prisoners by supporting and caring for them.
The former WHO Deputy Director-General also urged the GMA and the Prison Service to collaborate with other stakeholders to help share ideas and develop concrete plans to address the problems prisoners face in the country
Mrs. Josephine Fredua-Agyemang, Deputy Director of Prisons in charge of Finance and Administration on behalf of the prison service noted that the well-being of prison inmates was paramount and therefore was necessary for the country to provide quality health care as one of the measures to meeting and achieving the SDG goal on universal health coverage.
She commended efforts and support by the GMA to the prison service and called for more support from other agencies and organizations.
The Northern Regional Minister Mr Salifu Saeed, in his keynote address, acknowledged the role played by the prison Service in maintaining order and behavioral change of inmates and called for more support to the service.