NGO cautions public about expired mental drugs

Mr Peter Kuugyire, Project Co-ordinator of the Brong-Ahafo Network of Non-Governmental Organisations (BANGO), has alerted the public about the sale of expired drugs for mental health patients.

He advised caretakers to critically examine expiry dates, especially when such drugs were to be acquired from chemical sellers and drugs stores.

Mr Kuugyire raised the concern at the 2014 Civil Society Health Forum in Sunyani on Thursday, organised by the Brong-Ahafo Chapter of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health, under the theme “Accessing Mental Health in Brong-Ahafo – Civil Societies’ Role”.

He said though drugs for the treatment of mental illnesses were very expensive, if patients took in the expired ones they worsened their conditions.

Mr Kuugyire emphasised that collaborative efforts were required from the Ministry of Health and Pharmacy Council to check and get rid of such expired drugs from chemical shops and drug stores.

He expressed worry about the low commitment on the part of some stakeholders in supporting mental health activities, and called on the public, especially churches, to lead the campaign against stigmatisation of people with mental disorders.

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Mr Kuugyire appealed to the Government to mainstream mental illness into the National Health Insurance Scheme through the endogens list to make treatment cost affordable to the mentally ill.

Mr Kobina Afena-Sam, Brong-Ahafo Regional Chairman of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health, said the forum was an annual platform for civil societies operating in the health sector to discuss issues affecting the sector.

He said mental illness could be cured if patients were put on medication and strictly observed to take the drugs.

Mr Afena-Sam appealed the public to assist mentally deranged people to access regular medication.