A community durbar on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of Persons with mental health disorders has been held for residents of Ga West Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region.
The durbar was purposed to equip the public with the requisite knowledge on issues regarding access to information on SRHR for people with mental health conditions, family planning methods, sexually transmitted infection prevention methods as well as how to demand their rights at various health facilities.
The event was organized by the Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG) in partnership with BasicNeeds, NORSAAC, CPRI and funded by Amplify Change.
It was attended by Health workers, Traditional Rulers, opinion leaders, Market Women, DOVVSU officials, officials from the Department of Social welfare, Mental health Service Users and Caregivers, among other important personalities.
In a speech read for him, the Municipal Chief Executive of Ga West Municipal Assembly Hon. Clement Nii Lamptey Wilkinson, bemoaned that persons with mental health conditions often cannot obtain the most basic information about SRHR. Hence, they remain ignorant of basic facts about themselves, their bodies and their rights to define what they do and do not want.
The SRHR services, he observed, are not often accessible to persons with mental health problems for obvious reasons, including physical barriers, lack of mental health clinical services, stigma and discrimination.
He said it is important to ensure that human rights dimensions are systematically and clearly integrated into the provision of contraceptive information and services.
“It is important to ensure that everyone, particularly people with mental health disorders takes good care of their reproductive health,” he added.
He informed the participants that the Assembly exists because of them and therefore they must avail themselves to reap the available benefits.
He commended MEHSOG and its partners for putting together the durbar and advised them to continue with the advocacy efforts.
“Our doors are open to the organisers so that when an event such as this is about to be organized, the Assembly members can spread the messages to the community members.
Madam Georgina Sakpah, Coordinator of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) at Ga West Municipality advised the public to desist from maltreating people with mental health disorders, adding that “if you do so and you are reported to DOVVSU, you will be made to face the law.”
She emphasized the need to live in harmony because the absence of such peaceful coexistence among couples could trigger mental health problems.
In his remarks, Mr Humphrey Kofie, Executive Secretary of MEHSOG, who facilitated the durbar informed participants that the SRHR for mental health project is meant to contribute towards addressing the unmet sexual and reproductive health needs of vulnerable adults and adolescents through awareness creation, established contacts with service providers for inclusive SRHR service delivery and public sensitization of the sexual and reproductive rights of persons with mental health problems.
He stated that it is important for every individual to have access to the services related to reproductive health.
Mr Kofie stressed the need for timely and relevant information to be given to persons with mental health conditions.