The Accra Psychiatric Hospital is the foremost specialised facility dedicated to the health needs of mentally challenged patients.

Basically, it is responsible for the treatment, welfare, training and rehabilitation of the mentally ill.

The hospital has the capacity to accommodate 600 patients at a given time.

This has not been the case, however, as the hospital continues to be over-crowded with an increasing population and, therefore, there is a growing demand on the limited facilities.

Worse still, the hospital has faced perennial food and drug shortages, leading to the hospital sometimes falling on internally-generated funds to operate.

The situation has become worse this year with rampant food shortages, as a result of the failure of the government to release funds for the feeding of patients.

According to the Deputy Director of Nursing Services, Mr. Emmanuel Pappoe, contractors have stopped supplying the hospital with food and therefore, the hospital has to rely on the scanty funds generated from the Pharmacy and Laboratory to purchase food at the market to feed the inmates three times daily.

The situation, he said, has compelled the hospital authorities to feed the inmates with porridge without sugar, as well as gari and soup without fish.

This is disgraceful and highly unacceptable. The picture of mental health-care, as painted by the Deputy Director, is that the hospital is in dire need of funds to purchase food for the patients.

The hard truth is that mental health- care in the country is not receiving the needed attention, and the health authorities must be blamed for the appalling conditions under which the inmates are living.

The quantity and quality of food served may be described as below standard, pitiful and paltry, not deserving to be offered mental health patients.

We, therefore, urge the health authorities and the government to take the necessary steps to show a little more concern for our mentally ill patients.

We agree the country may be facing some economic challenges, but it is totally unacceptable to neglect the mentally ill in this manner.

The Accra Psychiatric Hospital must be funded now. It cannot wait.

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