The Ministry of Health (MOH) has warned against the practice where mentally-ill patients are chained or put in shackles by prayer camps and healing centres.
It described the practice as inhumane and abuse of one’s right to medical care and urged people whose relatives are mentally ill to refer them to the appropriate health institutions for medical attention.
“Individuals and families must stop the practice of chaining mentally ill persons at prayer camps and churches but refer them to any nearby health facilities for medical attention.”
Mrs Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah, the Deputy Minister of Health, said this at the eight congregation and 17th matriculation ceremony of the Ankaful Psychiatric Nurses’ Training College, in Cape Coast.
The event was held under the theme: “Community-base mental health nursing education, our priority.”
A total of 195 and 201 psychiatric nurses who respectively completed their courses of study for the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 academic year graduated while 214 new students were matriculated.
The Deputy Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Weija Gbawe, said even though the mental health situation in the country have slightly improved following the passage of the mental Health Authority (MHA) Act (CT 846), Ghana was yet to attain the required standards.
As a result, government will not rest on its oars but shall continue to commit resources, training and logistics to effectively improve the mental health care.
Additionally, it would ensure that mental health services are fully integrated into the general healthcare system to ensure comprehensive service delivery and called on corporate entities, non-governmental organizations, religious and traditional leaders to support.
She celebrated the matriculants and the graduands for their resilience and commitment to pursue their dream in caring for people with mental disorders, a profession many would not opt for and tasked them to be kind to patients and ensure that they were well nursed.
The health of patients, their core responsibility should be their greatest concern and warned that under no circumstance should a patient be abused or neglected while seeking their assistance.
They should cultivate the right attitude for compassionate care, dedicated service to humanity and reiterated that the GHS will not tolerate any health personal for misconduct or indiscipline to deter others.
“Mental health nursing requires that practitioners exhibit high level of commitment and nurturing in providing care to individuals, groups and communities.”
“It is imperative that as professionals, you exhibit humility and adhere to the code of conduct as indicated in the Mental Health Act and the guidelines of the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
Giving an overview of the vision and mission of the College established in 1973, Mr Simon Dogedoung, the Principal, re-affirmed their commitment to training versatile, competent middle and top-level mental health care professionals to meet the ever-changing values and health demands of the contemporary society.
With over 78 teaching, non-teaching and supporting staff, he recounted the enviable academic records of the institution in achieving 80 pass rate.
Among others, it has succeeded in the successful affiliation of 2000 students from sister institutions, acquired new computers, furniture, books, improved internet connection, online Nursing and Midwifery Council licensing examination and successfully joined the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Ghana (CARLIGH) to improve teaching, learning and research.
He admonished all matriculants to be disciplined and show maximum respectful to the school’s authorities, obey rules and regulations and be serious with their studies to achieve their aims.