The Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwasi Osei, has revealed that Ghana loses 7% of its Gross Domestic Product(GDP) owing to mental illness.
According to him, research has shown that there are several people who due to mental illness are unable to work and be productive. Others, he added, go to their workplaces but are unable to work resulting in low productivity which ultimately affects the country’s GDP.
Dr. Akwasi Osei who disclosed this in an interview with host Kwaku Owusu Adjei[Patoo] on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa FM stated that though there’s been appreciable state support for mental health in the past few years, more still remains to be done.
He noted that though regional and district hospitals have been resourced to take care of mentally ill patients there’s the need for at least new 40-bed Psychiatric hospitals to be built in the middle and northern belts of the country to deliver healthcare to patients in the Bono, Ahafo, Ashanti and the regions up North of the country.
Commenting on the numerical strength of Psychiatric Doctors currently in service, Dr. Kwasi Osei said presently there are 40 doctors with 30 of them being in public practice.
“Though there’s been an increase in Psychiatric doctors, the number is not enough to take care of the teeming number of patients. Looking at Ghana’s 30 million population, we require between 100 to 120 Psychiatrists to be able to adequately take care of the huge number of patients.”
He criticized policymakers for failing to provide adequate Psychiatric centres across the country.
“During the construction of hospitals such as the University of Ghana Medical Centre, the new Ridge Hospital, the Bank of Ghana hospital, we informed policymakers to include psychiatric centres but that was not done. We were later told that the psychiatric centres will be constructed during the next phase of the project. It is as though policymakers don’t have an appreciation of the need to have psychiatric centres built. When Cape Coast hospital was being built we told the authorities to include a psychiatric wing but we were told there is Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital and so there was no immediate need for it. Now, Cape Coast hospital is now a Teaching Hospital and we are now struggling to attach a psychiatric hospital to it.”