The Research and Grant Institute of Ghana, on Thursday 13th April, 2023 hosted national stakeholders in Accra to discuss issues on Skin-neglected disease and Mental health.
The meeting forms part of the institute’s project activities under the Anesvad foundation project titled ‘Integrating mental health and stigma reduction programs into primary and community care of persons with Skin-NTDs’.
The meeting focused on the neglect of persons suffering from NTDs and the prevalence of Mental Health among these people which is being found from an ongoing review by ReGIG. A presentation on a research finding was presented by Dr. Adjorlolo on the health menace.
Other stakeholders shared experiences on challenges relating to the disease at the primary and community care level. Dr. Afreh, Regional Health Director of the Oti region presented an issue-based finding on some challenges faced by personnel, looking at the psychological aspect with focus on management. He hinted on how to manage human resources for mental health, utilising mental health awareness activities and capacity building for officials in the field.
An official from the Ministry of Health, Mr. Alidu continued to stress on the issue of the limited number of mental health workers in the Oti region . He stated that despite these challenges, officials available in the district are doing their bit to deliver mental health services.
Stakeholders from the Ghana Health Service indicated the GHS has a national program which is well coordinated and it is not clear as to why such areas should be neglected. Ghana Health Service assured that they would like to know if these findings were on a global scale and would want to know about Ghana. Furthermore, concerns about suicidal cases in such areas were also deliberated on by stakeholders. The Ghana Health Service officials however stated that they were ready to help provide the necessary needs and build capacity for mental health officers to carry out psychological support in regions with NTDs prevalence.
Stakeholders from the Mental Health Authority, reiterated the need for the inclusion of a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist in the designing and use of the screening tool. Stakeholders affirmed that healthcare professionals should be well empowered to carry out screening of the patient using the available tools. Also, they emphasised the need for the government to prioritise monitoring and evaluation in order to drive accountability in the fight against NTDs and Mental health.
The executive director of ReGIG, Dr. Adjorlolo disclosed that the district and local facilities will be involved in ReGIG’s project and this would be done through periodic zoom meetings.
However, Dr Xatse from Pantang hospital explained that some of the patients need to be empowered to have an independent life which he suggested social workers to be involved in such cases. Other suggestions were also made to ReGIG cooperate with the social welfare department in the execution of the project since the government has allocated funds for that purpose.
The National stakeholder engagement was attended by health officials from the Ghana Health Service, the Mental Health Authority, officials from the Pantang health facility, researchers and other members of health NGOs in Accra.