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41% of Ghanaians are psychologically distressed

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service

The Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye has disclosed that 41% of the Ghanaian population are psychologically troubled.

Also, one in every ten Ghanaians has a mental disorder, whilst 16,000 people have severe mental health and are on the street.

Mental health, according to him, costs Ghana 7% of her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and these challenges are in addition to the dire mental health situation.

The Director General for the GHS was speaking at the 2nd National Conference organised by the Christian Service University College (CSUC), under the theme: “Addressing the Increasing Health Challenges in Ghana;Exploring Diverse Perspectives.”

Touching on means within which mental health should be handled in Ghana, Patrick Kuma-Aboagye noted that the Ghanaian constitution demands that mental health service should be free.

Based on this, he had already started advocating that mental treatment should be part of the National Health Insurance.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye also told the gathering that Ghana has seen an increase in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) in the last few years, saying “We have a total of 24,009 new cancer cases recorded in 2020, representing a significant increase of 50%, compared to 2016 estimation.”

This, he said, shows that Ghana is identifying more cancer cases with a corresponding fatality rate of 46% for breast cancer and 61% for cervical cancer.

These statistics, he stated, are always conservative due to the general health seeking behaviour of Ghanaians .He subsequently called for steps for the prevention of the disease and early detection.

On Religion and Health, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye mentioned that the two have been bed fellows,dating back to the early Church days, adding that it was the Church that built hospitals and this relationship has often been rosy and rocky at times.

“Religion has a major impact on health, either for the good or for the bad,” he said.

He disclosed that at clinical practices, they have incorporated religious and spiritual approaches in an effort to address the challenge.

The President of Christian Service University College, Prof. Samuel Kofi Afrane, on his part said health is a universal concern because “by nature,we are all confronted by it.”

He told the function that “Several research studies report the alarming rate under which NCD are claiming lives, both young and old.

“For instance, in 2017, hypertension killed 2243 people in Ghana and this increased to 2,472 in 2018,showing an increment of 10.2% in just a year.”

Giving an update on cancer cases in Ghana, Prof.Kofi Afrane disclosed that in 2019about 990 deaths resulted from cancer,showing an increment of about 51.6 over the 2018 figure which was 653.

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