Chief Executive Officer of Mensah Mental Health Rehabilitation Project (MEMHREP), Mr Adu Gyamfi has called on government to ensure that people with mental health problems and those living in the streets have equal access to Covid-19 awareness campaigns currently ongoing.
This, he said, will protect the rough sleepers from contracting the deadly disease and stop its further spread.
Ghana has recorded double numbers(19 at the time of filing this report) of corona virus cases as contact tracing for over 600 people is still underway.
Government, together with the Ministry of Health (MoH), has issued some preventive measures and guidelines on how to stay safe and observe social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, Mr Adu Gyamfi believes that persons with mental health problems in the streets, as well as other vagrants, are a particularly vulnerable group who have been left out of the national crisis conversion.
According to him, “these ones have no means of knowing what is going on” and “no attempt is being made to include them in what is happening “.
He stressed that, like everyone else, “these people must also be taught to keep proper hygiene and practice social distancing”.
Failure to do so, he warned, could result in them being infected with the corona virus disease and spreading it to the larger population.
“They can have symptoms and be touching surfaces, be coughing or sneezing without covering their mouths as they walk about without hindrance.”
“These are the things we don’t want people to do,” the MEMHREP CEO stressed, insisting that “this is a public health concern” which must not be ignored.
He wants government to consider the UK example, where about 300 hotel rooms have been made available to house the homeless and thus protect them from contracting the dreaded Covid-19.
He suggested that even if hotel rooms could not be made available, temporary shelters could be provided.
Mr Adu Gyamfi however praised government and the health ministry “for their hard work” and cautioned the public on spreading fear and panic during these critical times.
“Coronavirus is something that needs to be taken seriously, but we need to make sure we respond to it in a rational manner, that we aren’t contributing to the problems by contributing to people’s panic and anxiety," he added.
This foundation has for the past nine years been feeding, providing mental health education and caring for the personal hygiene needs of persons with mental health problems as well as other rough sleepers.
If you require any emotional support during this time, feel free to contact MEMHREP and its partner health agencies on +233(0)248762692 or visit www.memhrep.org