From Samuel Duodu, Fiapre.
THE Kintampo Rural Health Training School (KRHST) will partner two foreign institutions to organise two new training programmes for middle level specialist mental health workers in the country by the first quarter of this year.
The collaboration with the Hampshire Partnership NHS (HP) and University of Winchester (UOW), both in the United Kingdom (UK), will help train more mental health specialists, as well as increase access to mental health services in the country.
The Medical Assistant Psychiatry (MAP) programme will be targeted at practitioners who would be able to diagnose diseases and prescribe treatment while the Community Mental Health Officer (CMHO) scheme would be for trainees based at the community for cases identification, follow-up and public education.
Dr Emmanuel Teye Adjase, the Ghana Co-ordinator of the Kintampo Mental Health Project and the Director of the KRHST, said this at Fiapre in the Sunyani West District, at the closing ceremony of a five-day training workshop for 32 mental health practitioners drawn from all over the country.
He said the KRHTS had already developed a training curriculum for the two new programmes, which will help ensure that all the districts get middle level mental health specialists within the next five to 10 years.
Dr Adjase urged the government to improve the working conditions of mental health workers to retain them in the country and also to encourage health personnel to specialise in mental health care.
The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku, said the Mental Health Bill, which is aimed at reforming the country’s mental health sector, had been sent to the Attorney-General’s Office and would soon be forwarded to the Cabinet for approval and finally to Parliament for its passage into law.
Mr Opoku, therefore, called on stakeholders in the mental health sector to intensify their lobbying in order to get the Mental Health Bill passed into law by next year.
Dr Mark Roberts, the UK Project Co-ordinator, said 50 years ago, the UK’s mental health sector was faced with a similar challenge like that of Ghana.
He noted that measures such as decentralisation of institutional care at the community level, financial incentives and a double pension for mental health staff helped to improve the sector in the UK.