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Love your mentally ill relatives: Dr. Abdulai appeals


The northern Ghana does not have adequate psychiatric clinics or hospitals, although it has a large number of mental patients. A region mostly underserved in terms of mental health service, lack so many social amenities.

He said victims do not only go through disgusting treatment and bad living conditions by some nurses but dejection from families. Unfortunately, the social stigma so often associated with mental illness or epilepsy, poverty and inadequate health care facilities have conspired to rob these people of the care and support they deserve.

In an exclusive interview with the Regional coordinator for psychiatry in the northern region, Mr. Abdulai John Ibrahim, mentioned that, the few psychiatric clinics faces challenges such as low supply of psychotropic drugs and that, some hospitals do not have a unit for them and the inability of transporting patients to other health facilities for treatment.

He also stated that some of the causes include anxiety or fear that interferes with normal functioning may be classified as an anxiety disorder. Commonly recognized categories include specific phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and post –traumatic stress disorder and depression. Other causes he said consist of alcoholism, the taking of cocaine and marijuana.

Answering questions on why there are a number of mentally handicapped on the streets of Tamale despite the existence of the unit, Mr. Abdulai said it was illegal to treat a person without his knowledge or that of the relatives and that the person can decide to take you to court for that.

He also advised family members not to abandon their mentally ill relatives for that will worsen their case.

Mr. Abdulai mentioned that the mental health services started as far as 1981 in the northern region as a unit including epilepsy.
The unit began with some few nurses who were taking care of them not on admission but thorough assessment for instant treatment to commence if it is agent, aggressive or serious.

According to him, the unit specialist reports to work on every Wednesday to attend to the patients, about sixty to hundred people can be examined in a day and on other days fifteen to thirty patients can be attended to in the unit, the unit also handles both old and new cases.

Talking about the signs and symptoms of mental illness, he said victims are aggressive, destructive, talking too much and walking about aimlessly, unable to sleep, and not bathing for a number of days and that, some people prefer to go to the herbalist for treatment but return to the clinic at the advanced stage of the case. Mr. Abdulai therefore encouraged the general public to attend to the clinic for instant treatment to commence.

By: Lilian Walter Daborikuu


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