Government should focus priority attention on mental health – Asantehene
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has called for the government to make sure that mental health is made an urgent national priority.
He said mental health could not continue to be relegated to the background as had been done over the years amid the rising cases of mental disorder.
The Asantehene made the call in a speech read for him at the 59th annual conference of the Ghana Medical Association, underway in Kumasi.
“Mental health in Ghana” is the theme chosen for the four-day meeting.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu asked that the government did everything to provide the Mental Health Authority with adequate financial and logistical support to effectively discharge its mandate.
He added that mental health laws and related legislations should be made to work to address mental health problems facing the nation.
The King used the occasion to highlight the need to move quickly to implement the agreed conditions of service for medical doctors.
That, he said, was important to save the nation from another “debilitating strike action”, something he indicated, Ghanaians were not prepared for.
The Asantehene touched on the general working conditions of doctors including the facilities where they had been working and said things should be improved to motivate them to give it their all.
Dr. Akwasi Osei, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Mental Health Authority, identified drug abuse as the major cause of mental disorders, and said between 20-30 per cent of out-patient department (OPD) mental cases and 8 per cent in-patient admissions was drug-related.
He warned against legalizing marijuana use and said that could be disastrous for the nation’s mental health system.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Dr. Ebenzer Ewusi-Emmim, President of the GMA, expressed concern over the feet-dragging on the implementation of the agreed condition of service for its members by the government.
He underlined the determination of the Association to do everything to make sure that the conditions of service as approved by the government, the Labour Commission and the Association, together with the market premium for doctors were fully implemented.
Dr. Ewusi-Emmim condemned unregulated advertisement of drugs and treatment of diseases in the media and asked the appropriate authorities to take steps to tackle these.