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Health News of Wednesday, 2 November 2016


We run the mental home with our savings - Psychiatric nurses tell gov't

Nurses at the Accra Psychiatric hospital have embarked on an industrial action following the hazardous conditions under which they work.

Two weeks before embarking on the action, the nurses served authorities with a notice detailing their intended action which was begun with full force on Monday, October 31, 2016.

In an interview with one of the aggrieved nurses Jamilatu Hussen on Peace fm, she noted that their strike action has nothing to do with unpaid salaries but rather, the poor prevailing conditions under which trained metal health nurses work.

According to her, nurses at the Accra Psychiatric hospital were inadequately supplied with drugs for mentally deranged patients, logistics and hospital consumables.

The poor condition, according to her, had made their job uncomfortable to an extent that they “often do not have gloves to wear to clean the excreta of the patients.”

“We are professional nurses with degrees and diplomas but we do not have basic items like gloves and bedspread to cater for the patients. Such impediment has put our lives at risk”.

As trained nurses expected to keep records of patents on daily basis, Jamilatu Hussen claims they are not even supplied with pens and notebooks to keep and write situational reports.

“We can write a request that we need 5 pens for the month but it comes as luck to be given just one. All they tell us is that they don’t have enough pens and incase one is fortunate to get two pens, then it means other wards wouldn’t get pens to write with”, she said.

Dealing with patients with psychological issues involve keeping the environment clean but from the accounts of Jamilatu, both nurses and patients at the Accra Psychiatric hospital live in an untidy environment where acquiring detergents to sanitize the place is hard to come by.

“Even plasters to dress sores with, we don’t have…We don’t have medicines for our patients and we need to sanitize our environment but we don’t have detergents”, she said.

The rot at the home has reached a level where nurses have to personally contribute monies in the form of “susu” according to Jamilatu before they can run the home and when “we told our head about the situation, she told us government doesn’t have money to cater for us”.

In a related development, President John Dramani Mahama has indicated that he is unaware of the strike action being embarked on by the nurses of the Accra Psychiatric hospital.