It is unfortunate that workers of Pantang Hospital are on an indefinite sit-home action for which the psychiatric facility has been closed down by its management.
The workers say they are “living under constant threat to their lives” due to the activities of land guards on a parcel of land amid periodic gunshots and rampant robberies and attacks on some workers. They also talk about encroachment.
It is, therefore, more unfortunate that the hospital management has, since 2013, called on the government to fence the facility to prevent private individuals from encroaching on their property but to no avail.
The Ghana Medical Association Local Chapter Representative at the hospital, Dr Alex Owusu Ansah, says the workers have demonstrated three times, in 2013, 2017 and 2020 about workers’ security, including the fence wall “but things haven’t changed”.
He adds that since there is no safe working environment, “we, as staff of the hospital, are moving away from danger. If the management cannot manage the patients, then they have to discharge them”.
And really, the management of the Pantang Hospital has been compelled to discharge patients on admission and refer those seeking Out-Patient Department (OPD) care to nearby health facilities.
Currently, patients in the hospital are those in chronic condition and others whose relations cannot be traced.
This is the most unfortunate, considering the fact that all psychiatric patients require specialist care and as such, it is dangerous for the patients to be cared for by family members (laymen).
Besides, it is also dangerous for the family because the unexpected can happen and the patient can harm family members.
The Ghanaian Times is intrigued by the fact that it is when matters have come to a head that a source at the Ministry of Health (MoH) is saying contractors have returned to site to continue with the fence wall project.
This fire-fighting approach to addressing problems whose solutions have significant impact on lives and the development of the country must stop!
It makes a mockery of the leadership in all sectors of the country, particularly the political leaders and chief directors and executives who wield the powers to sanction actions to solve those problems.
If you care to know, you leaders are perceived to be insensitive to problems of the people.
The Ghanaian Times has no issue with the MoH appealing to the Pantang Hospital staff to return to work while their issues are being addressed, but we want to ask on their behalf: “What are the assurances and proof that the issues are being addressed all this long while from 2013 till now?”
Ghana’s mental health policy, formulated in 1994 and revised in 2000 and 2004, has the objective to provide facilities at the tertiary, regional, district and sub-district levels for the management of psychiatric cases. This means the demand for a fence wall at the Pantang Hospital is legitimate.
Already, the mental health service and its facilities and workers in Ghana face many challenges, so no one should worsen the situation. A fence wall for Pantang Hospital is not beyond the capacity of the country; the powers that be should, therefore, provide it now to give the workers peace of mind to come back and work.