NGO calls for institutionalization of mental health services

The Accra Psychiatric HospitalThe Brong-Ahafo Network on non-governmental organisations (BANGO) on Thursday called for the institutionalisation of mental health services especially at the district levels.

The NGO appealed to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and all relevant institutions to effectively push the enforcement of the mental health law to give realistic meaning to the legislative instrument.

Mr Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, BANGO Chairman, who made the call at a media briefing in Sunyani, noted that the mental health law would make a significant impact in society if its enforcement is strictly adhered to.

He emphasised that civil society organisations have crucial role to play in the enforcement and implementation of the law.

He called on the MOH to ensure effective partnership with NGOs to achieve the desire goals of the law.

Mr Benarkuu explained that BANGO is undertaking a project aimed at ensuring that 8,000 people with mental health illness and epilepsy access free treatment, psychiatric counselling, and care services in 20 districts in the Brong-Ahafo Region by 2014.

BANGO is also working with stakeholders in social and health sectors to ensure that mental health service is fully institutionalised in all the 27 district health facilities in the region including hospitals, and provide easy access to treatment, care and support.

Mr Benarkuu said under the project, the NGOs would reach out to senior high schools and communities to embark on advocacy on the need to improve mental health services and also ensure effective collaboration with prayer camps and traditional healers to enable them get basic psychiatric training in handling people with mental disorders.

He mentioned ineffective collaboration between Ghana Health Service and district assemblies, inadequate drugs and difficulty in accessing mental health services as well as stigmatisation of people with mental disorders as some of the challenges in mental health care delivery.

Mr Benarkuu commended the government and parliament for the passage of the mental health law and recommended that government should establish councils and boards at both national and regional levels to monitor the enforcement of the law.

BANGO was established 20 years ago by social development advocates who have worked in the areas of education, health, agriculture, environment and human rights interventions.

It works to promote transparency and accountability at all levels as well as collaborate with the media and other stakeholders to facilitate accelerated national development.

Source: GNA

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