A female patient at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital has tested positive for Covid-19, Human Rights Watch has reported.
The non-governmental organisation says this is causing concern about protection for other patients and staff.
According to Disability Rights Director at Human Rights Watch, Shantha Raw Barriga, “despite the best efforts of hospital staff, many patients, staff, and their families are now at risk because they had contact with a patient who has contracted Covid-19.”
The organisation in a publication on its website says Municipal Authorities who had to approve the patient’s transfer to a treatment centre, refused.
Head of the Ghana Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei told Human Rights Watch they refused because she was a mental health patient.
“This is obvious discrimination,” he said adding, “if this person didn’t have a mental health condition, she would have been allowed to go to the treatment centre. They are just afraid.
“But people with psychosocial disabilities should have the same access to Covid-19 treatment as anyone else,” the doctor said.
Ghana has recorded 1,671 cases of Covid-19. Greater Accra has the highest number of cases, 1,433. Overall, 188 people have recovered and 16 have died.
Human Rights Watch proposes the release of patients with mental health if they choose to as “closed settings like psychiatric hospitals act as incubators for the virus,” to curtail further spread of the disease in the Psychiatric Hospital.
”To minimize the number of daily outpatient visits during the pandemic, Accra Psychiatric Hospital has looked into phone consultations, having medications delivered to patients, and creating a home visit team. These initiatives should be carried out or scaled up,” it said.
In order to address the pandemic in health facilities, the organisation said government should ensure that hospitals are fully equipped with personal protective equipment and regularly test staff and patients.
“Mental hospitals should avoid new admissions as much as possible to reduce and prevent overcrowding.
“Municipal authorities should also confirm that anyone with a mental health condition who tests positive for Covid-19 will be admitted to local treatment centers without delay or discrimination,” Human Rights Watch said.
Click on the comment box below and leave us your thoughts. Thank you