The International Central Gospel Church ICGC has donated 105,000 pieces of N95 masks worth GH¢150,000 to psychiatric hospitals.
The General overseer of ICGC Pastor Mensa Otabil who made the donation said the gesture was part of efforts to keep patients and workers at the hospitals safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mental health is a big issue in Ghana… We all know somebody who has had to deal with issues of mental health at one point in time or the other in their lives, and it’s not easy,” he noted as he handed over the masks to Chief Executive Officer of the MHA Dr. Akwasi Osei.
He observed mental health patients are “very vulnerable members of our population who cannot fend for themselves,” hence the need for all to support them especially in times of a pandemic.
This is the second major support ICGC is offering the authority. In 2019, the church following its annual Generational Life Walk donated GHC200,000.00 to the authority to cover the entire cost of procurement, set-up and installation of 3 electro-convulsive machines (popularly referred to as the ‘miracle machines’) for the Accra, Pantang and Ankaful Psychiatric Hospitals. These machines are important in the treatment of patients.
Life in psychiatric homes in times of a pandemic
The Accra Psychiatric Hospital as early as 30th April 2020, a few weeks after Covid-19 got into Ghana, recorded cases of the disease. Hundreds more have been recorded since. And there is evidence that death rates from Covid-19 are higher in care homes and long-term care facilities like mental hospitals across the world, although such specific data is unavailable in Ghana.
According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as at February this year, whiles only 5% of USA’s COVID-19 cases have occurred in long-term care facilities including mental homes, COVID-19 deaths in these facilities account for about 34% of the country’s total pandemic fatalities.
“The masks are for onward supply to the various mental health facilities across the country to keep patients, doctors, nurses, caretakers and administrators there safe from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pastor Otabil said as he handed over the masks.
Dr. Osei was grateful to the church for the gesture. He said the masks would be of great use to the mental homes as Covid-19 cases have been recorded in some of its facilities.
He urged everyone to continue to practice all the safety protocols in this pandemic
Generational Life Walk.
Members of the ICGC would usually do donations to the Mental Health Authority (MHA) after the church’s annual Generational Life Walk activity. Last year, the walk which would usually begin from the Independence Square in Accra over a 12 km distance could not come off because of the corona virus pandemic. This year, the church asked members to undertake the walk in their neighbourhoods and then gather for a virtual donation.
“In this era when a lot of us are working from home or are less active at work because events and meetings are virtual, the value of taking time off to walk and exercise cannot be over emphasized. And we’ve also heard the doctors talk about the need to exercise regularly as that also serves as an immune booster,” Pastor Otabil said.