Ghana’s Mental Health Authority has warned that the exclusion of the country’s population with mental illness in the fight against COVID-19 could have dire consequences.
Currently, the authority is strictly adhering to safety and social distancing protocols in the psychiatric hospitals to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
But an estimated 9,000 people with mental ailments are roaming the streets without any safety precautions.
According to Chief Executive Officer of the Authority Dr Akwasi Osei these homeless mentally ill people could be potential carriers of the deadly virus.
“So if you and I protect ourselves with the masks, with our hand-washing, so we don’t get it, what about the other person on the street who is not protecting himself?
He can be a potential carrier and when yours and mine, they are gone, and we are healthy, we can be re-infected by them,” he said.
Dr.Akwasi Osei disclosed that his outfit is in talks with the Gender Ministry to rid the streets of the mentally ill who may be carriers of the virus.
“If you want to go and bring him to the hospital for about two months, the money to buy his food, medicines and eventually take him back to his community, it will cost roughly GHC5,000 per person” he noted.
Ghana has lifted its three week lockdown on major cities to fight the pandemic but has maintained the ban on public and social gatherings.
The wearing of face mask is now compulsory in the country’s capital city Accra as COVID-19 cases increase to at least 1,154.