A larger proportion of neonates born by mentally-challenged mothers in the Brong-Ahafo Region, die before 28 days of their birth, said Dr Paulina Appiah, the Sunyani Municipal Director of Health Services.
The situation, she said, has contributed to the high annual neonatal deaths recorded in the Region, which she described as very disturbing.
Dr. Appiah who was addressing the opening session of a day’s training on Peri-Natal Depression Screening organized for some health workers in the Brong-Ahafo Region on Monday in Sunyani, attributed the situation to lack of basic knowledge in mental health by care givers (midwives).
About 80 midwives, community and general nurses drawn from selected Districts and Municipalities in the Region attended the training workshop bordering on Maternal Mental Health, which is expected to empower them with the requisite skills to ascertain or diagnose the mental status of pregnant women.
Peri-natal depression, according to experts, is the intense feelings of sadness, anxiety and despair before or after child birth that interferes with the patient’s ability to function. The condition lasts for a few weeks.
Dr. Appiah was not happy that out of every 60,000 live births, 2,000 of the babies died before 28 days of their birth contributing to 17.5 per cent of child morbidity in the Region and said the alarming situation needed to change.
She asked care-givers to immediately refer pregnant women with mental disorders attending ante-natal and post-natal clinics to specialists for urgent attention.
The event was organized by the Mission of Hope Society (MIHOSO) in collaboration with Basic Needs Ghana, a health-biased non-governmental organization, with support from the Department for International Development (DIFD) of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Fred Nantogmah, the Knowledge and Communication Officer of Basic Needs Ghana, stated that mental health situation in the country was worrying because the situation was gaining epidemic proportion.
He appealed to the government to facilitate speedy passage of the Legislative Instrument to give realistic meaning to the Mental Health Bill.
Mr. Nantogmah observed that though the government was doing much, there was the need for mental illnesses to be covered under the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Dr Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, the Chief Executive Officer of Mission of Hope, said the workshop was in line with a maternal mental health project the NGO and its partners were implementing in the region.
He explained the project sought to ensure that by the end of 2018, a universal access to health especially among people with mental conditions was achieved.
Dr Benarkuu said without support from especially media and traditional authorities, the goals of the project being funded by the DFID could not be achieved