This is Basic Needs Ghana’s initiative to equip the traditional healers and prayer camp managers with knowledge in mental illness, rights of mental health patients and management of mental illness.
About 400 traditional healers and prayer camps each will be trained in mental health issues and how to handle them when such cases arrive at their various centers.
This is an initiative by Basic Needs Ghana, a non-governmental organisation working in the area of mental health.
Basic Needs Ghana organizes a mental health outreach programmes on a quarterly basis where mental healthcare is taken to the doorsteps of the patients.
The outreach is done free of charge in the very communities where the patients live, so as to make it accessible to those who cannot afford the cost of accessing psychiatric healthcare.
The training, according to the Project Officer of Basic Needs Ghana, Mr. Bernard Azuure seeks to equip the traditional healers and prayer camp managers with knowledge in mental illness, rights of mental health patients and management of mental illness.
He made this disclosure at a two-day training workshop for traditional healers in Bolgatanga on the theme ‘Basic Needs Ghana strengthening Private Non-Formal Health Services to Enhance Mental Health Services in Ghana’.
The project is supported by UKAid and geared towards increasing access to non-formal health care services and referral of persons living with mental illness or epilepsy in Northern Ghana.
“Basic Needs Ghana targets to train 400 traditional healers and prayer camps each in the Northern and Southern Ghana respectively on mental illness, its causes and management and to increase referral of patients from these traditional healers and prayer camp managers to the psychiatric centers in their areas.
“This has become necessary because some of these traditional healers and prayer camp managers do not understand mental illnesses care and subject patients to torture while give them concoctions for treatments without approval from the Food and Drugs Authority”. Mr. Azuure emphasised.
He further lamented the torture of mentally ill patients at some prayer camps and traditional healers’ centers. He called on regulatory authorities to crack the whip on those engaged in subjecting patients to such barbaric treatments.
Mr. Azuure encouraged relatives of persons with mental illness to bring the patients for professional care at a specialist psychiatric services that will be provided free of charge for the Builsa North and South, Talensi, Kassena Nankana East and West Districts from the 4th to 8th of September.