|Executive Dir. GKS|
The Gub-Katimali Society (GKS) in Tamale has disbursed GH¢5,000.00 to thirty stabilised persons with mental illness and epilepsy (PWMIE) and their caregivers at Sagnarigu in the Sagnarigu District in the Northern Region of Ghana.
The disbursement, formed part of the implementation of a 5-year DFID project by GKS in partnership with BasicNeeds-Ghana in all 26 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the Northern Region.
According to Executive Director of GKS, Sheik Yakubu Abdul-Kareem, there were many PWMIE who as a result of their current state of mental health could no longer do certain jobs that they used to do prior to falling sick.
“For instance, a nurse who suffers from extreme mental illness or epilepsy and unable to recover very well most likely will not be allowed to work in the hospital again. However, we believe that such a nurse can do certain jobs like rearing animals, sell groceries or engage in certain skills training to make a living out of it”, he emphasised.
At the disbursement of the funds at Sagnarigu, Sheik Abdul-Kareem told Savannahnews, that in order to make PWMIE continue to remain economically viable and not become totally dependent on their family members, GKS and BasicNeeds thought it wise to support them through the DFID project.
Each of the 30 Sagnarigu beneficiaries mostly women who belonged to Ngun Pagi Suhi Self-Help Group of Mentally Ill People, received between GH¢80.00 and GH¢300.00 to do any business they were capable of doing.
With some of them engaged in the sale of porridge, millet, corn, rice processing and among others, they were expected to deposit their individual profits into the Association’s Bank Account so that when any of them ever run at a lost, they could be bailed out.
Having successfully implemented a three-year EU project in seven MMDAs in the Northern Region, GKS went into another partnership with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through BasicNeeds-Ghana to implement another 5-year project. The project began in 2013/14 and expected to end in 2017/18.
This project is aimed at supporting the government of Ghana to build a national mental health system that effectively and efficiently responds to the mental health needs of Ghanaians. This would reduce the high mental health treatment gap currently existing in Ghana and would enable men, women, girls and boys with neuropsychiatric conditions to live and work successfully in their communities.
The project targets all 26 MMDAs in the Northern Region and seeks to achieve increased capacity of Ghana's Mental Health Authority to effectively and efficiently run community based mental health services whereas 100,000 women, men, girls and boys with mental health needs access quality mental health services within the proximity of their communities.
According to Sheik Abdul-Kareem, his organisation had since the implementation of the project met and interacted with an estimated 853 beneficiaries comprising of PWMIE and their primary caregivers in 17 communities in four districts.
He also indicated the project, had also organised training and capacity building workshops for 486 self-help groups in all four districts.
A representative of BasicNeeds-Ghana Dassah Kayeli Timothy urged beneficiaries to make prudent investments with the money given to them. By so doing, he said the money would grow and it would enable GKS to extend further support to others who also need it to improve upon their livelihood.
Mr. Dassah recounted success stories of some PWMIE in the West Mamprusi District who had made significant economic gains in their dry season farming through a similar support they received some years ago. “This feat by your colleagues in Walewale should also motivate you to make gains in whatever you’ll invest your money into”, he stated.