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Basic Needs to Help Rid North of Poverty - Director

2005-04-22 12:16:43
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THE DIRECTOR of Basic Needs, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Chris Underhill Mbe, has expressed interest to fund education in the northern part of Ghana, more especially to support the mentally-ill persons to undertake field-based action. He said this would help to improve documentation for effective learning and to advocate for poverty eradication.
According to him, it is important to build the capacities of the local organizations so that they would contribute to the community mental health and to equip them with the skills to manage all capacity-building elements in the country.

Speaking at the launching of Basic Needs, the newly outdoored NGO yesterday, under the theme, “Giving Mentally Ill People (MIP) and their carers, a voice to be heard,” Mr. Underhill, noted that since the year 2000, the NGO has been able to treat 17,000 mentally ill people through the development of community and Mental Health Action Groups in the poorest suburbs of four sub-metros of the city.

He urged the public to treat all mentally ill people with equal rights to enable them take part in developmental processes within their communities in order to improve their livelihood situation.

He also called for moves to ensure that mentally ill individuals exercise their rights as members of the communities, and pledged the NGO’s preparedness to assist them in their illness.

The NGO director indicated that his organization would help to obtain an adequate level of functioning of the mentally ill, to enable them participate in a sustainable self-reliant programme that allows them to exhibit their potentials.

He asserted that mental illness now accounts for 12.3% of the global burden of diseases whilst the burden of diseases is increasingly recognized with global response and added that one-third of the people world wide live in countries that invest less than 1% of their total budget in mental health.

On his part, the Chief Psychiatrist, Dr.Sammy K. Allotey, said years ago, those who were found to be mentally ill in the country were labeled insane and were arrested and put in prison in Accra, the capital city of Ghana.

He gave the genesis of the Lunatic Asylum presently known as the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, which started in 1906.

He disclosed also that the Department of Psychiatric Nursing, has been located at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital since the establishment of the Ghana Medical School, would be relocated to Korlebu, the main Teaching Hospital in Accra, before the end of this year.

Dr. Allotey expressed the hope that the hospitality of patients would start from next year and that beds would be provided for in-patients in the nearest future.

On the rate of admission, of more males than females in the hospitals, he said it was due to a lot of factors and mentioned the presence of aggressive behavior among male patients as one major factor.

“About 160 community psychiatric nurses have been trained and have been deployed in all the 10 Regional capitals with their presence in 56 out of the 138 districts The districts without community psychiatric personnel are covered through outreach programmes by the facility with community psychiatric nurses. Currently, only about 134 are at post.”

He pointed out that human care and fundamental human rights provide for the community mental health care, recognises and regulates private, traditional, and spiritual mental health care practices.


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