Accra Psychiatric Hospital
Activities at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital came to a halt last Thursday as President John Evans Atta Mills paid a visit to familarise himself with the challenges confronting the hospital.
The unannounced visit, was heralded with shouts of joy by the nurses and other staff was history in the sense that it is the first time a President was visiting the hospital in spite of its importance to the Ghanaian society.
According to President Mills, he was drawn to the hospital by the mounting problems facing the hospital and mental health care system in general, and promised to give the necessary assistance to address those problems.
He urged the hospital not to feel neglected, as his administration attached much importance to mental healthcare.
His visit, therefore, he said, was indicative of his administration’s readiness to give the needed attention to psychiatrics hospitals across the country.
It was also to show the love of Easter to the inmates of the hospital
President Mills commended the management and staff of the hospital for working hard to improve the performance of the hospital in spite of limited resources, and urged them to continue taking good care of the patients.
He promised that the needed funds would be made available to hospital to replenish medial stock in time, as well as improve their facilities.
Dr. Akwasi Osei, Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, described the President’s visit as “historic,” saying that “it shows that he is concerned.”
Briefing the President about their operations, Dr. Osei called for “practical support” to address the problems hindering the smooth operation of the hospital which is grappling with inadequate medical supply, accommodation, security and staff.
He said the hospital which was built to accommodate 600 patients currently has 1200 inmates, with most of them sleeping on the floor since there were only 400 beds available.
Out of the 1200, he said, about half were well enough to be integrated into society, but their relatives could not be traced, adding that most of the patients had been neglected by their relatives due to stigma society has attached to mental patients.
He called for a complete overhaul of the hospital since it had outlived the purpose for which it was established in the 1950s, and hoped that Mental Health Bill, passed and implemented, would help to address the challenges.