Security, health threat: Junkies, mental patients occupy Accra streets

The public has expressed concern about junkies and others with mental health challenges roaming the streets of Accra, the national capital.

They have therefore called for their evacuation and confinement at the appropriate places like the psychiatric hospitals.

Their concerns stem, for instance, from the fact that the junkies have taken over some pavements and streets in the Accra metropolis causing nuisance to the commuting public and posing a security threat.

“These people, both young and old, use cardboard, papers and filthy cloths as mats to sleep wherever they would choose such as the pavements and by the street,” the members of the public complained.

A commuter, Abigail Inkoom, who is a worker in the North Industrial Area, said such people posed danger to workers, especially those who go to work at night.

 “Seeing them at lonely places at night itself puts fear in me as I don’t know when they would attack me,” she added.

“Sometimes, they attack and beat up people on sight,” he added

Mr Inkoom said the junkiesabused substances, and that as some of them were found openly smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol, as well roaming the streets naked, attending to the call of nature in the open and leaving filth anywhere.

“The call for the evacuation of the junkies sounds right and must be acted upon,” Mr Inkoom stated

Another commuter, Mr Isaac Appiah, was emphatic that city authorities needed to evacuate them from the streets with immediate effect.

“It’s an eye sore as a country to see these people roaming our streets and sleeping on the pavements anyhow,” he added.

However, the Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Authority (MHA),Dr. Akwasi Osei, in a statement on Ghana Television monitored by the Ghanaian Times, said there were no adequate resources to attend to the numbers.

According to him, “for every one person on the street we will bring to the hospital to treat, in terms of clothing, feeding, accommodation and repatriating him or sending him back to his community when he’s well, it will requires  funding.”

He said the psychiatric hospitals were not getting adequate funding from the government that could meet those demands, explaining that Ghana should establish a mental health levy to get funds for mental healthcare.

Dr Osei called for the collaboration of the general public, including the media, to support the efforts of the Authority in ensuring that junkies and others facing mental health challenges were taken offthe streets.

When contacted, Mr Gilbert Ankrah, the Public Relations Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) said the newly appointed Chief Executive of the AMA, Mrs Elizabeth Sackey may address the concern at a press briefing next week.



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