The Herald, has picked up reports of uncertainty and job insecurity amongst the nurses and other health professionals at the Adadraka premises of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.
This, follows a durbar held by the management of the hospital during which they were told that the land on which the hospital sits, has been sold to some foreign investors linked to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
They have been told that, the foreign investors will take over the facility by June, this year, hence they should start psyching themselves up in readiness to leave the place; a state land.
The workers are not sure where they are to go next, as the government has not built any other such specialized health facility in Accra most, especially to move them, as well as their mentally ill patients to. Its sister hospital Pantang, is nothing to write home about.
The uncertainty is compounded by the sad story of the La General Hospital, which edifices and structures were pulled down by the Akufo-Addo government in the name of putting up a modern health facility for the people of La, to serve Osu, Labone, Teshie, Nungua and others.
But the land, has since been taken over by weeds, reptiles and insects after it was abandoned by the government, although President Akufo-Addo in the run-up to the 2020 general election was at the place.
From multiple sources, The Herald spoke to, have mentioned Ken Ofori-Atta, as the one leading the takeover of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, which is under the Ministry of Health.
While, one source alleged Mr Ofori-Atta, had actually bought the land, the other said the investors were his partners.
It was also claimed that the Finance Minister’s wife, a clinical psychologist, Prof. Angela Ofori-Atta, is on government’s Psychiatric board under the Ghana Health Service and thought to be spearheading the disposal of the health facility next door to the Ridge Hospital now the Greater Accra Regional Hospital and directly opposite the Adabraka Polyclinic.
The Accra Psychiatric Hospital, has been responsible for the treatment, welfare, training and rehabilitation of the mentally ill.
It dates back to the period of colonization and before the introduction of scientific medicine, where mental illness was treated with herbal medicine and spiritual rites.
According to literature obtained from the hospital’s website, in the early days of colonial rule, mentally ill patients were left alone to their own fate. However, on 4th February 1888, by a Legislative Instrument (LI) under the signature of the then governor, Sir Edward Griffiths, the old High Court of Victoria Borg was converted into Lunatic Asylum.
The wardens then looked after the patients. No medical treatment was given and no real distinction made between the requirements of the mentally ill and those of the criminal.
Overcrowding in the prison promoted the building of a new hospital at Adadraka in 1904, and was called Lunatic Asylum; the present Accra Psychiatric Hospital. It was commissioned in 1906 to accommodate 200 patients.
About 110 patients were initially admitted into the new hospital under the charge of 16 untrained attendants. The hospital consisted of four wards; Female, Male, General and Criminal wards. The Lunatic Asylum later underwent modifications and extension into the Psychiatric Hospital with a bed capacity of 600.
The University of Ghana Medical School, has a faculty established at the hospital for undergraduate training in Psychiatry and postgraduate training under the West African College of Psychiatrists (WACP).The hospital thus has a symbiotic relationship with the medical school.
The hospital is run by a management team headed by the Medical Director.
Other members are the Nurse Manager (D.D.N.S.I/C.), Deputy Chief Health Service Administrator (Secretary), Deputy Chief Accountant, Deputy Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Deputy Chief Catering Officer, Senior Human Resource Manager, Senior Consultant, (Dept. of Psychiatry, and U.G.M.S.) National Coordinator of Community Psychiatry Nurses and other administrative communities to support management.
The specialized hospital has other supporting facilities, including the College of Health Kintampo.
It supports the Pantang Hospital, which is described as the second born child of Accra Psychiatric Hospital. It was opened by General I.K.Acheampong in 1975 and was headed by Dr Sika-Nartey, a Psychiatrist.
The hospital is situated near a village called Pantang, about 1.6 kilometres off the Accra- Aburi road and 25 kilometres from Accra Central. It was originally planned to be a Pan-African Mental Health Village.
Ankaful Hospital, is mentioned as the first-born child of Accra Psychiatric Hospital. It was opened in October 1965.It had beds for 500 patients admitted from central, western and Ashanti regions.
Dr Sangmuah, Dr Sika-Nartey and Dr Atsor were the pioneer psychiatrists. This was an attempt to decongest the hospital in Accra.
The Hospital has not seen any major rehabilitation since its construction.
In July 2018, the Management of the hospital was forced to organize a fundraising dinner in aid of renovating the all-male Forensic Ward, affectionately known as the “Special ward”.
The targeted amount was GHC160, 000.00 which is the total cost of renovating patients and staff washroom, reconstruction of the patients’ dining area and Nurses’ station.
Out of the fundraising dinner, an amount of GHC78, 000.00, was realized and management decided to start with the renovation of the patients’ washroom as it was in a very bad state.
An old ward was renovated into a Rehabilitation Centre. The ward has a Bed capacity of 30, but currently has 24 beds available to render services to only male clients.
Kitchen/pantry, Store room, 5 washrooms for residents and new tennis court has been built as part of the rehabilitation process.
More to come!