The Mental Health Authority (MHA) has initiated moves aimed at ensuring that traditional and faith based healers operate within a framework that is beneficial to mental patients.
There are concerns that the rights of mental patients are sometimes trampled upon by some traditional and faith based healers at their various centres.
Consequently, the MHA has initiated stakeholder meetings to develop guidelines for the operation of traditional and faith based healers in mental health.
This, is because, the available psychiatric facilities are not adequate to treat all psychiatric patients in Ghana.
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Again, the religious nature of many Ghanaians makes them always wanting to take mental patients to traditional and faith based healing centres.
According to the MHA, there are a lot of problems at many of these facilities to the extent that the human rights of patients are sometimes trampled upon.
For instance, according to Dr Kwadwo Marfo Obeng, a psychiatrist at the Pantang Hospital, “We have had a lot of problems because people suffering from mental health illness are kept in atrocious conditions that violates their human rights.”
“Some are chained, starved and sometimes beaten and let to sleep next to their own faeces and urine and other people’s faeces and urine.”
Dr Obeng also said, “the fact that our psychiatric facilities are not adequate to treat all the psychiatric patients we have in Ghana currently,” makes people patronise traditional and faith based healers.
As a result the MHA thinks that it was important to discuss the way forward on how to work with each other in a way that it benefits the patients because fundamentally, they all want to help people that are sick.
On Friday, one of such stakeholder meetings for the development of guidelines for operation of traditional and faith based healers in mental health was organised in Accra.
The participants reviewed the guidelines which would later be presented at a larger stakeholder meeting for consideration.
Watch a video of the meeting below