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Health News of Thursday, 14 May 2015

Source: Chronicle Newspaper

Korle Bu Gets Psychiatric Department

The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) has opened a new department responsible for the treatment of psychiatric and psychological related diseases disorders.

The new department has two wards with a capacity of 12 beds for both males and females, and can admit patients for a maximum period of 10 days.

The presence of the psychiatric block at the nation's primer hospital will help efforts to demystify the stigma associated with mental illness, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwasi Osei, believes.

"Patients with mental illness are currently living in obscurity due to stigma and rejection from families, friends and loved ones, although any average human being has a psychology or psychiatric disorder," he said at the official opening of the Department of Psychiatric, KBTH, in Accra.

According to him, mental illness is just like any other disease that affects part of the human system preventing it from functioning well, but most hospitals don't have a unit to handle mental health.

Dr. Akwasi Osei said for almost 60 years the KBTH has just an office for mental health, meanwhile, patients who access the facility have various psychiatric issues beyond their physical illness.

"The stigma of mental illness will continue if patients are not allowed to be treated in general hospitals. Then all our efforts will be in vain," he noted. The provision of the psychiatric department will give an opportunity to patients to be seen and heard, he added.

He urged health personnel at the department not to be in hurry to transfer patients to the Psychiatric Hospital because of lack of space or beds. According to him, the new block shows a paradigm shift in medical assessment and right to health in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of KBTH, Dr. Gilbert Buckle, on his part, said patients often withhold to themselves real issues affecting their health due to intimidation by some health professionals, saying, "Besides their physical health, there is mental attached to what they present that they are unable to tell us."

A United Kingdom (UK) based professor in mental health and a comrade to the Ghana Mental Health Authority, Prof Patrick Geoghegan, congratulated the KBTH for the new approach. He urged the mental health authority to bring on board policy makers to plan the future of mental health in the country.

Dr. Sammy Ohene, Head of the Psychiatric Department at the KBTH, told the gathering how hard he had worked to ensure that Korle Bu inhabits a department for mental health.

The department, he said, helps nurses to probe further and better health conditions of patients.