Calling on President John D Mahama to uphold MH Act and UN CRPD ratification — Ghana

The Accra Psychiatric Hospital in Ghana has been the site of many, many human rights violations reports. Yet there has been little change. Now there is talk of building a brand new psychiatric hospital?!! This indicates a lack of recognition from the Ghana government regarding the consultations with Mental Health agencies and regarding the Mental Health Act outlining the need for COMMUNITY BASED treatment. Ghana has ratified the UN CRPD which clearly outlines providing mental health programs and policies within a human rights framework. We are calling on the President John D. Mahama, the National Democratic Congress, and all government agents to be consciously aware of the ratification of the UN CRPD, the Mental Health Act, and how it applies to mental health programs and policies. LET ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

From our member, Dan Taylor, MindFreedom Ghana:

I’ve heard yesterday in the news on Joy FM that the ruling government in Ghana which party is the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in a ceremony on Tuesday evening at the Banquet Hall, State House, Accra to outdoor highlights of its manifesto which were read by President John D. Mahama stated inter alia that when given the mandate in the upcoming elections, they would build a first class modern psychiatric hospital at Pantang and relocate the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.

He went on state that two new psychiatric hospitals will also be built at Kumasi and Tamale with a commitment to support mental healthcare in our country.

I’m indeed intrigued by these promises made by the President which certainly makes me believe that he and for that matter his Minister of Health are not very conversant with provisions in the Mental Health Act, 2012, Act 846. I’m very sure that if they had, they would know that psychiatric units and wings have to be established at all the regional and district hospitals. These would go a long way not only to make mental healthcare accessible nationwide but also help in de-stigmatizing mental disorders and persons with mental illnesses in our communities.

The bottom line Good People, is that what the government must do now as a firm commitment to ensure mental healthcare and infrastructure are well taken care of. It is indeed very sad that the statutory funds to run mental health in Ghana has not been provided to the Mental Health Authority (MHA) since its establishment in November 2013.
Had it not been the British aid agency viz. Dept. for International Development (DFID), a VERY VERY sad story of mental health would have been heard nationwide…

As someone working with our organization, MindFreedom Ghana, whose mandate has to do with issues about mental health, the treatment, rights and dignity of persons with psychosocial disabilities I’m very conversant with the many challenges therein.
Suffice it to say that what I expect the current government to do now to demonstrate its genuine commitment mental health is to ensure that the statutory funds are released NOW to the MHA to work with.

Against the foregoing, I’ll want say loudly that “LET ACTION LOUDER THAN WORDS NOW, President Mahama!!!

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