The Accra Psychiatric Hospital (APH) yesterday began discharging some of the in-patients from the hospital to their various homes, due to lack of funds, medications and basic logistics for work.
It was also due to the decision by the nurses to abandon the patients and stay away from their working zones which they describe as “dangerous working environment”.
The nurses have for the past few months, complained of the shortage of medication and basic logistics such as disinfectants, spirits, plasters, gloves, inadequate foodstuff and other working materials.
Companies which supply the APH with food and basic working materials have halted the supplies due to the hospital’s inability to pay them an accumulated debt of GH¢3.6 million.
The nurses have for the past weeks, been on a sit-down ‘Run from Danger’ strike, due to those facts.
They have vacated their working premises but claimed they are not on strike.
Reacting to the development, President John Dramani Mahama, said in an interview on Sunrise FM in Koforidua yesterday, that he was unaware of the challenges facing the management and staff of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.
He explained that he had not been informed about the challenges confronting the hospital, but expressed his commitment to rectify the problem immediately.
“It hasn’t come to my attention but I do know that the area of mental health is one of the areas where we need to focus our attention. Our psychiatrists tell us that all of us have a bit of madness in us, and that somehow, we all have some mental disorder or the other, so it means that it is something that we need to pay attention to,” he said.
“We passed the new Mental Health Bill and government is committed to its implementation. We will take immediate steps to resolve the issue at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, and I am going to call the Minister of Health after this programme, to see what the issues are and how we will resolve them,” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwasi Osei, for his part has said that measures had been instituted for community psychiatric nurses to monitor the inmates who would be released.
Mr. Fredrick Asare-Donkoh, an executive member of the Psychiatric Nurses Group at the hospital, stated that their action had become necessary since the patients kept relapsing into the state in which they were brought to the hospital, due to lack of medications which made it more difficult for them to be handled.
“Staff have been physically attacked on many occasions, but their medical bills were not catered for by the Mental Health Authority or by management, not to even talk about Risk Allowance!” they said.
By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey