Health News of Sunday, 3 November 2013
Source: Graphic Online
A clinical psychologist, Dr Angela Ofori-Atta, has called on the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to collaborate with faith healers to bridge the gap between medical and spiritual treatment for mentally deranged persons.
She noted that people could not be stopped from seeking spiritual or faith healing and, therefore, it was necessary for health sector authorities to cooperate with spiritual healers to give better care to patients.
Dr Ofori-Atta, who is also a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Medical School, was speaking to the media at the third Annual Mental Health Conference in Accra last Thursday.
The two-day conference was on the theme, “Psychology in everyday life”.
About 70 percent of Ghanaians who seek mental health normally go to prayer camps or traditional healers for treatment due to the conception of supernatural or spiritual causes of mental illness.
Dr Ofori-Atta suggested that a desk be set up at the GHS to foster the activities of faith-based healing centres to strengthen them while the needed care and treatment would be given to patients.
That, she said, would also help reduce the abuse and torture mentally deranged persons go through at the prayer camps.
She suggested that if the Mental Health Authority was implemented and backed with resources, including health personnel, the collaboration would be effective with the health sector having an oversight over prayer camps.
Earlier, speaking at the conference, Dr Ofori-Atta had announced that the University of Ghana was conducting a research which aimed at bridging the gap between spiritual and medical healing.
She said the two-year-long research, which began in August this year, among others, intended to create a feasible model of care for mentally challenged persons by health sector workers and faith-based organisations, acting in partnership.
The research, she said, was also intended to demonstrate to care givers in a faith-based setting what the careful and consistent use of medication could achieve in patients with psychiatric illness.
“It is also to demonstrate to the GHS that the use of medication in a systematic way is a therapeutically useful and economically feasible way of treating patients in a prayer camp setting,” she said.
Dr Ofori- Atta said the research comprised approved psychotropic medication, daily interaction with a community mental health officer and spiritual treatment (prayer and light fasting).