SPEECH DELIVERED BY DR. PINAMAN APAU ON BEHALF OF THE CHIEF PSYCHIATRIST/MEDICAL DIRECTOR, ACCRA PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL
|Posted by Johnny (john) on Mar 07 2013|
|News >> Mental Health|
SPEECH DELIVERED BY DR. PINAMAN APAU ON BEHALF OF THE CHIEF PSYCHIATRIST/MEDICAL DIRECTOR, ACCRA PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL ON THE OCCASION OF THE VISIT OF THE HON. MINISTER OF HEALTH ON TUESDAY 19TH FEBRUARY, 2013.
Honorable Minister of Health, the Hon. Deputy Minister Of Health, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, the Director General of Ghana Health Service, and Members of the Hon. Minister’s entourage, Members of Hospital Management, Staff, The Press, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to sincerely apologize for the conspicuous absence of the Chief Psychiatrist/Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr. Akwasi Osei, who is currently on official duty outside the country.
Hon. Minister, your visit marks the first time, in the 108 year history of this Hospital that a Lady Health Minister has paid a visit to this facility, and only the fourth time that a Minister of Health has visited this facility. It is for this reason that I am particularly thrilled at your visit especially just a day after assuming office as the Minister of Health. It can only point to ‘very good things to come’ for mental health care in Ghana. For this we say we are most grateful to you, you are very welcome to our “virtually neglected with its endangered species” world.
Hon. Minister, the Hospital currently has 7 Doctors (3 Consultants – 2 based in Kole-Bu; 2 Specialists, and 2 Medical Officer), Three (3) Pharmacists, 5 Medical Assistants and about 250 Nurses manning the various wards and units. With an inpatient population of over 1,000, our staffs are increasingly being and simply overworked due to the huge deficit in numbers. According to the International Labour Organisation, the Nurse/Patient Ratio should be 1:4; however the ratio in this Hospital stands at 1:40. The situation is not different with the Doctors, our inability to accommodate them and to give them better conditions of service are sending the young doctors who have interest in psychiatry away.
Ageing and crumbling infrastructure pose a huge problem and owing to the virtual neglect suffered by this Hospital over the years, it has become crucial, in fact more than critical, to re-equip the entire facility to make it justify its existence and to be able to continue to render the needed crucial services to our fellow citizens who access the care provided by this Hospital. Roofs with gaping holes, broken down toilet facilities, some horrible consulting rooms and wards in catastrophic conditions are a common place at this Hospital. Hence a huge proportion of our meager resources is spent on maintenance.
Notwithstanding the almost daily physical attacks and assaults by patients on our staff, Honorable Minister, the least said about staff motivation the better. We have had numerous staff losing their eyes, teeth, others with broken limbs some of which eventually led to their deaths. The attack and injury on two of our nurses at the Female Rehabilitation is a classic example. Yet the phrase “risk allowance” is alien to our staff, who at every moment have to be looking over their shoulders and be alert to escape potential physical attacks by sometimes restless, anxious, deluded patients, especially when the Hospital runs out of psychotropic drugs. It is for this reason that the payment of differential wages in favour of health professionals working in mental health hospitals comes in handy. The payment of risk allowances for mental health care staff is also urgently recommended.
The Hospital is currently seriously indebted to the tune of over 3.2million Ghana Cedis especially to food and chemical suppliers, a situation that has compelled some of our most reliable and loyal ones to cease supplying to the hospital, with some threatening to institute legal action against the Hospital.
I would, however, be quick to add that the Hospital has got its own shortcomings as well. It would be recalled that the ANAS Story brought into sharp focus some of the malpractices and negative happenings at the hospital, a situation which pinched management on its ears to double our efforts, and we are proud to inform you, Hon. Minister, that those times and practices have been well and truly dealt with.
As a way to decongesting the facility and re-uniting clients with families and reintegrating them into mainstream society, Hon. Minister, the hospital earlier in the year embarked upon a project “Operation 600” which is meant to send about 600 cured patients to their families at the Hospital’s expense and we are glad to inform you that the project is going on very well, except that we are both financially and logistically constrained.
Our only 30 seater, aged Toyota Bus has broken down quite a few times in some remote parts in the country in our quest to send cured patients to their families. The cost in terms of fuel, overnight and travel allowances for our hardworking repatriation staff have also overwhelmed the hospital, and we would be glad if you could allocate us one of the Ministry’s recently acquired new Yutong Buses.
Hon. Minister, ladies and gentlemen I would like to mention that this hospital also sees the face of Ghanaian public generosity as individuals, groups and organizations donate various quantities of food items, clothing, and beddings for the use the patients. The Hospital is most grateful to the numerous philanthropists who in various ways continuously and generously donate to the hospital.
Hon. Minister, it is for these myriad of problems that the implementation of the Mental Health Act is paramount and should be of national priority, before Mental Health problems soon become a national security issue, a situation Ghana is not far away from. We therefore humbly appeal to President through the Hon. Minister to constitute the Mental Health Board to enable the Mental Health Act to become Law.
On this note, I wish on behalf of the Medical Director, Dr. Akwasi Osei, Management, Staff and Patients, to express our earnest appreciation to you, Hon. Minister for your visit and also formally welcome you to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.
Last changed: Mar 11 2013 at 3:22 PMBack
|Dr. Owusu-Antwi||By Guest on May 22 2013 at 3:37 PM|
|good job done Dr.Appau, i trust that our needs will be met sooner than later so that practicing mental health becomes more attractive rather than just \"heroic\"!|