Government has intervened in the horrible condition of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital by donating the sum of GHc300,000 as well as drugs and other consumer items worth GHC 120,000. This aid comes after nurses at the hospital embarked on a strike over poor working conditions and lack of maintenance funds.
Information on this intervention was given to Citi News by the Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia on Thursday.
The Accra Psychiatric Hospital in recent times, has been battling with a number of challenges. Health officials at the facility particularly the nurses, have for months been agitating over accumulated debts, lack of essential and basic medical supplies such as drugs for patients, hand gloves for nurses, as well as poor environmental conditions.
The hospital had among other safety and economy measures, closed its Out Patient Department (OPD) few weeks ago leaving only the in-patient departments to run. This however, did not solve the problem.
A nurse was reportedly hospitalised after receiving a fierce blow on the abdomen from an aggressive patient on 21st of October. Similar experiences have been recorded as the hospital lacks funds to tame the patients who are angry for either the quality or quantity of food given them.
These discomforting challenges compelled the nurses to desert the hospital for their dear lives on Monday as they can no longer continue exposing themselves and the patients to dangers and high risk of infection.
However, the National Labour Commission (NLC) on Wednesday, ordered the nurses to return to work, rebuking them of breaching the labour laws since they never notified the commission before embarking on the strike. The commission subsequently requested for government’s immediate intervention in the ugly situation which they have heeded to right in time.
Speaking on Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Segbefia disclosed that a cheque of GHc300, 000 together with GHc120,000 drugs [which they bought themselves] were delivered to the hospital on Wednesday. He also said that more provisions would be made to the hospital by the end of the week.
The minister indicated that although the hospital usually receives food donations from the public, protein was lacking at the hospital. He said that to fill this gap, the ministry gave an order for a one month consignment of frozen fish which was collected on Wednesday morning.
He gave assurances that the Ministry is currently working on making more funds and essential items available to the hospital. He also promised that enough will be provided to bring everything back to normalcy at the mental home until the budget is ready by February, 2017.
President Mahama in an exclusive interview on Koforidua based Sunrise FM on Tuesday, said he was not aware the only mental hospital in Accra has issues with finance and medical supplies. Though Mahama admitted the mental aspect of the health sector requires some help from government, the President said he had no idea the Accra Psychiatric hospital has been experiencing very challenging set backs.
The President further stated that though he is unaware of the crisis, he is committed to resolve the issues to improve mental health delivery. Mahama noted that government has passed the new mental health bill and is committed to its implementation. He also said that all stakeholders, including the Health Minister, will put heads together to resolve the issues.
This is not the first time the Accra Psychiatric Hospital is embarking on a strike over challenges such as unpaid salaries, debts, poor working conditions, etc. We hope that the government will this time around, take care of their various challenges once and for all, especially while considering the fact that it is the only available mental hospital in the country’s capital.