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Respond to our challenges – Mental health officers tell Gov’t

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The Accra Psychiatric HospitalCommunity Mental Health Officers (CMHOs) in Ghana have appealed to Government and health authorities to give definite response and specific time frame to their challenges.

They mentioned official appointment, salary placement, level and scale of job description and career progression as some of the challenges in their services delivery.

The Group made the appeal in a communiqué issued and signed by Mr. Ransford Osei, National President, at their maiden one-day Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Kintampo in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

The meeting followed a two-day workshop on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) organised by the Kintampo Project, under the auspices of the Management of College of Health and Well-Being (CoHK) for CMHOs and Clinical Psychiatric Officers (CPOs) in the country.

The workshop, on the theme “Empowering the Mental Health Workforce,” was designed to develop the understanding of the concept of CPD, develop a method of supporting each other in CPD, reflect on both good practices and the challenges of introducing the role of CMHO and CPO, as well as updating participant’s 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 communiqué said exactly two years ago, the first batch of the newly trained CMHOs graduated from CoHK joined the nation’s mental health workforce, with full enthusiasm and high spirits.

It noted however, that “Little did we know that the challenges ahead were more than what we envisaged as our various experiences on the field have really exposed the lapses in our health system”.

The communiqué therefore pleaded for an end to the usual chorus by the authorities such as “we are working on it” and “it would be available soon” as responses to their challenges and requests.

It requested to know how far the process to meeting their challenges had gone because “many are those who are willing to join the workforce but our current predicament is demoralizing them”.

The communiqué said “some directors and human resource managers are even refusing to grant leave for staff who wants to upgrade themselves on the course”.

It pledged to work harder, assuring that despite the challenges they would work harder so that the efforts of the UK partners would not be in vain.

Source: GNA

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