Coronavirus: Mentally ill people could be breeding grounds for virus – Health Authority

The Mental Health Authority (MHA) has warned that mentally-ill persons on the streets could be breeding grounds for the novel deadly coronavirus.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, said the authority was in talks with the Gender Ministry to pull-out all mentally-ill persons on the streets, clean them up, and return them to their communities.

“Those who remain on the streets could be a storehouse for the virus, and later they will come back and reinfect all of us. So it’s important that you give them attention.”

“What it means is that you and I, everybody, you are potentially harbouring the virus. We know that now it can be in the air for a little while, so everybody is a potential carrier for the virus,” he said.

According to him, there were about 1,600 mentally-ill persons on the streets of Accra and Tema, and about 7,000 nationwide, from a 2005 assessment.

He said the authority would need about GHC5,000 to take care of each person.

“We have estimated that for every one person on the street if you want to go and bring him to the hospital, to attend to him, to keep him there for about two months, a rough estimate before he is well, the money to buy his food, to buy medicines for him, to buy disinfectants and eventually to take him back to his community, it will cost roughly about GHC5,000 per person,”

“So we should not ignore or neglect them, we should recognise that they are a very crucial constituency that needs attention, otherwise when everything is settled and done, they could be the source to it,” he added


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