Ghana’s Mentally Ill Deserve Proper Treatment

Target: Mr. Kofi Poku, Director of Ghana’s Health Administration

Goal: Monitor and set mental health standards at hospitals in Ghana.

Due to a severe lack of understanding about the condition, the Ghanan government fails to provide adequate treatment for the mentally ill. The few hospitals in Ghana do very little to treat their patients, whose practices are unethical and cruel. Instead patients suffer at the hands of physical and verbal abuse, and some are given electroshock therapy without consent. With only three hospitals equipped with a psychiatric ward, and four expensive private hospitals, they have quickly become overcrowded. Prayer camps have sprung up in West Africa, meant to heal those that weren’t cured in hospitals.

Those who attend the camp are chained to walls, buildings, or trees with a chain that measures only 2 meters in length. Many patients are shackled together for months and sometimes years at a time. They are forced to live, sleep, eat, shower, and defecate in the same confined space. Some are even denied access to water and stay in cells instead of rooms. Many Africans who live in rural areas believe that mental illness is caused by evil spirits inhabiting the body. This belief has led to a discriminatory view towards the mentally ill, believing that they are subhuman and don’t deserve to live with the rest of society.

The Ghanan government needs to add more hospitals that are equipped to treat mental illness. They need staff who understand the conditions of each of their patients and have ethical practices. Prayer camps must be monitored with standards set by the government, as these organizations are not government funded and run by citizens who are not trained medical professionals.

Suffering from a mental illness does not make a person any less human. Remind the Ghanan government to treat their patients with compassion and dignity, as this is their right.


Dear Mr. Kofi Poku,

In recent years, news has surfaced about the conditions of Ghana’s hospitals. They are described as overcrowded and not equipped to treat the mentally ill. Many of the staff are verbally and physically abusive to their patients, which is not conducive to their well being. The prayer camps that have spawned over West Africa are not staffed with trained medical professionals, and the patients are treated cruelly. The mentally ill are chained to trees, walls and buildings for months – sometimes years – where they live and defecate in the same confined space. With thousands of people suffering from mental illness in Ghana, changes must be made to ensure they can get adequate treatment.

I implore you to monitor the prayer camps and set standards regulated by the government. The staff must be trained professionals who understand their patients’ condition. The patients must never again have to endure months of being shackled as this practice is more akin to incarceration than treatment. I also ask that you build more hospitals to alleviate the overcrowding, and ensure that these hospitals have staff who are knowledgeable and compassionate towards their patients.

In closing, I hope that these changes will make the Ghanan people understand that mental illness is not rooted in superstition or evil spirits. It is a medical condition that shouldn’t demean a human being.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. J Davidson says:

    Totally backward, cruel, unethical and immoral to treat any human being like this.

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