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Mental health necessary for national development – Chief Psychiatrist

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The Accra Psychiatric HospitalThe nation cannot improve productivity and reduce poverty without attending to mental health problems, Dr Akwasi Osei, Ghana Chief Psychiatrist, has said.

He said this is because increasing productivity and reducing the poverty level could only be achieved through a healthy workforce and this cannot be possible without the right state of mental health.

Dr Osei said this in a keynote address delivered on Thursday at Kintampo in the Brong-Ahafo Region to end 2013 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshop for Community Mental Health Officers (CMHOs) and Clinical Psychiatric Officers (CPOs) in the country.

The three-day programme, organised by the Kintampo Project under the auspices of the Management of College of Health and Well-Being (CoHK) was on the theme: “Empowering the Mental Health Workforce”.

It was designed to develop an understanding of the concept of CPD, develop a method of supporting each other in CPD, reflect on both good practice and the challenges of introducing the role of CMHO and CPO and to also update participants’ knowledge and skills.

The event was also to enable the participants to understand the proposed model for Psychosocial Centre and how it could contribute to CPD for staff as well as developing hope for career pathways and enhance motivation to continue working in mental health services.

It was attended by 92 CMHOs and 10 CPOs drawn from the 10 regions of the country with facilitators from the Kintampo Project Ghana and the Kintampo Project United Kingdom (UK).

The Kintampo Project is a partnership of educators and health professionals from Ghana and the UK and their work is endorsed by the Ministry of Health in Ghana and the National Health Service in the UK.

Dr Osei said the Mental Health Service Board “wants to use the law to revolutionize the mental health care delivery system” and health care in general to ensure a paradigm shift needed in the treatment of mental health as part of the paradigm for the socio-economic development of the country.

He said with only three institutional mental hospitals in Accra and Pantang, in the Greater-Accra Region and at Ankaful in the Central Region, all mental health care service delivery in the country “are centralized-institutional-based instead of community-based”.

Dr Osei said the country must promote community-based mental health care as a form of decentralization in that sector, adding that constructing regional hospitals without community health facilities was not helping health care delivery in the country.

He advised the participants not place premium on the monetary component in the discharge of their duties but must concentrate on their professional and skills development.

The UK Team of the Kintampo Project was Dr Rosie Lusznat, Associate Dean for Educational Development for Wessex Deanery in England, Dr Steve Brown, a Community Psychiatrist and Mrs. Jo Overton, Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT) Nurse.

The Ghana Team also comprised Reverend Fr. Peter Gyabaah Komor, a tutor, CoHK and Mr Peter Ibrahim Adams, a Clinical Psychologist and also tutor, CoHK, Mr George Kunyangna, CPO as well as two CMHOs who are also Teaching Assistants at the College, Ms Joana Ackon-Annan, and Mr Isaac Adjei.

Nana Adu-Bra Poku II, known in private life as Mr, Kofi Kodom Achempem, a former tutor of the College and now Krontire Divisional Chief of Baanafuor in the Nkoranza South Municipality chaired the function.

Source: GNA

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