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Traditional authorities urged to support the mentally challenged

By Kamara Faisal Osman, GNA

Tamale (NR), Aug. 24, GNA – The Gub- Katimali Society, a Tamale based
NGO has appealed to Traditional Authorities to support the mentally challenged
in their respective areas to improve their welfare.

Sheikh Yakubu Abdul-Kareem, the Director of Gub- Katimali Society, who
made the appeal on Wednesday during a two-day sensitization workshop indicated
that traditional authorities were custodians of societies and that their
involvement in the upkeep of the mentally challenged was necessary.

The training workshop for the traditional authorities was meant to
orientate them on common mental disorders and human rights to increase
knowledge for a change of mindset about the mentally challenged.

The UKaid, funded the two-day workshop which brought together the
traditional authorities from the Tamale Metropolis, Tolon, Kumbungu and
Sagnerigu districts as well as the Savelugu/Nanton Municipality to discuss
challenges people with mental health face.

The initiative by the Gub- Katimali Society in partnership with
BasicNeeds- Ghana is also aimed at educating traditional authorities in the
various districts on mental illness and how to help integrate them into the
society.

 Sheikh Abdul-Kareem said the
intervention of Gub- Katimali Society in the districts had yielded positive
results regarding issues of broken marriages and school dropout especially
pupils who suffer from epilepsy and other mental disorders.

He pleaded with the traditional authorities to refer mentally ill
persons to the appropriate authorized health care facilities for treatment.

Mr Asigri Na-Waaf, a Principal Nursing Officer at the Tamale Central
Hospital, said traditional authorities should encourage societies to accept
mentally ill persons to be integrated in community rather than stigmatize and
discriminate against them.

He indicated that “One among every four persons is likely to suffer some
form of mental disorder” hence people with mental health problems should be
given equal opportunity in societies to build on their capabilities.

Mr Traugott Kpadangble, a community development officer, said the
psychiatric units in various hospitals in the region were not well equipped and
called on the appropriate authorities to address the situation with urgency.

GNA

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