Ghana Somubi Dwumadie, a consortium of disability advocacy organisations has proposed ways the Government of Ghana could make response to pandemics and emergency situations in the future inclusive of persons with disabilities.
The proposals were based on findings from implementation of COVID-19 Psychosocial Resilience Grants the consortium gave some six disability advocacy organisations in the country, who provided psychosocial support for people with disabilities, including people with mental health conditions during the pandemic, as well as to healthcare workers.
The proposals include improving targeted and coordinated support by government and CSOs for people with disabilities, including for people with mental health conditions, during pandemics by including their needs in the design of pandemic or emergency response; and generating reliable data on disability and mental health at the national, regional, district and local levels to aid in proper targeting and emergency response.
The others are developing and disseminating key information accessible by each category of disability, including people with hearing or visual impairments, among others, to ensure that all people with disabilities are reached with key messages; pandemic and emergency response should include a component on providing psychosocial support to all people, especially people with disabilities, mental health conditions, and healthcare workers; and also peer-support for healthcare workers should be institutionalised in healthcare facilities in Ghana.
Ghana Somubi Dwumadie announced the proposals in a press statement issued on Friday September 30, 2022, after screening six short films on the activities of their grantees in Accra.
The event brought together stakeholders in the mental health and disability space, including Disabled People’s Organisations, Self Help Groups, and Civil Society Organisations. Also in attendance were development partners like UKaid, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, as well as Ministry of Health, some members of government and parliament, traditional authorities and representatives of some universities and health institutions.
The films catalogue the impact stories of six of their grantees who were successful in accessing the COVID-19 Psychosocial and Resilience Grants Call, funded with UK Aid from the UK government.
The provision of funding support for disability and mental health was in line with global calls for increased investment in mental health which has been at the heart of the celebration of World Mental Health Day in recent years. This year’s theme for the World Mental Health Day on October 10is “make mental health and wellbeing for all a priority”.
The grants, which closed out at the end of 2021, were given to enable the grantees to undertake a range of activities that address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disabilities, including mental health conditions, as well as frontline health workers and people who got infected with the COVID-19 virus.
The findings of an end-of-call evaluation revealed significant successes including; increasing the proportion of mental health patients accessing mental health care from 20% to 35% across project districts in northern Ghana, facilitating access to social services by people with disabilities during the pandemic, increasing COVID-19 awareness and adherence to COVID-19 protocols by people with disabilities, provision of psychosocial counselling and support to health care workers, people with disabilities and communities during the pandemic through tele counselling, mobile clinics and counselling units established by grantees, reaching 17,307 people overall.
Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD, Hope for Future Generation (HFFG) – The PsyKForum, Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG), Presbyterian Community Based Rehabilitation Programme (PCBR-Garu) and Presbyterian Community Based Rehabilitation Programme (PCBR-Sandema).
About Ghana Somubi Dwumadie
Ghana Somubi Dwumadie (Ghana Participation Programme) is a four-year disability programme in Ghana, with a specific focus on mental health. This programme is funded with UK Aid from the UK government. The programme is run by an Options’ led consortium, which also consists of BasicNeeds-Ghana, Kings College London, Sightsavers International and Tropical Health, and focuses on four key areas: Promoting stronger policies and systems that respect the rights of people with disabilities, including people with mental health disabilities, scaling up high-quality and accessible mental health services, reducing stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities, including mental health disabilities and generating evidence to inform policy and practice on the effectiveness of disability and mental health programmes and interventions.
In October 2020, the programme awarded 7 grantees with a total grant amount of GHS1,193,574 to implement COVID-19 related activities across Ghana for a period of 12 months. Projects under the COVID-19 Call ended in October 2021 reaching a total of 17,307 participants over the 1-year period.