Over 1,000 patients at Accra psychiatric hospital are at risk of starvation due to lack of funding, the Ghanaian Chronicle reports. Acting chief psychiatrist Dr. Akwasi Osei told the newspaper that the hospital approached the government for emergency funds in October pending the allocation of its requested budget allowance for this year and received sufficient money to tide it over until the middle of November. If by close of next week [17 Nov, ed.] we do not have the money as the authorities have promised then we will have difficulty in feeding the patients, he said.
The hospital reportedly spends about 220 million cedis per month on food. So far it has managed to continue feeding patients thanks to donations from religious and corporate organisations and private individuals, although earlier this year it had to introduce food rationing to make ends meet.
Built in 1906 and with 800 beds, the hospital in Asylum Down is severely overcrowded and as many as 400 patients are currently obliged to sleep on the floor. Part of the problem is that relatives of patients are reluctant to take them home after treatment due to the stigma attached to mental illness. Further, there is concern that the situation will deteriorate next year when hospital staff say the authorities could transfer people currently living on the city streets to the hospital as part of efforts to clean up the capital in view of the 50th anniversary of Ghanas independence in March, the newspaper reports.