A 32-year-old Nigerian nursing mother with mental health issues is still in the custody of the Willingway Foundation, an organisation involved in advocacy for mental health in Kumasi.
This is because, all efforts to repatriate her back to Nigeria after receiving psychological and medical help to stabilize her condition, have proven futile due to non-cooperation on the part of the Nigerian Embassy in Ghana.
Officials of the Embassy have refused to facilitate the process after several attempts by the Foundation to send the woman back to her family in Nigeria.
Blessing Okoye was taken off the streets of Ghana’s second biggest city of Kumasi by the Foundation, while carrying a seven-month-old pregnancy.
The Foundation since August last year, has been sheltering the woman and making frantic efforts to repatriate her through the Embassy, but no progress has been made so far.
Blessing was lured into the country by some friends who assured her of good prospects in terms of job opportunities but she was unfortunately struck by mental illness, shattering her dreams.
She is now in a stable condition and wants to take her beautiful daughter back to Lagos but all efforts to get help from the Nigerian Embassy have been unsuccessful.
Madam Lydia Abena Manu, the Founder and Leader of the Foundation, told the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi that, she had sent a letter to the Embassy on the issue and followed it up with several emails with no single response from the Embassy.
“Two weeks after picking her, we went to the Embassy with a letter.
We drew their attention that there is somebody like that in our facility but we have not heard from them.
We keep sending mails to them but we have not heard anything from them,” she said.
She said the Foundation had also contacted the Nigerian community in Kumasi where the lady’s details were taken but there had not been any positive response till date.
Mrs Manu added that, reuniting mental health patients in their facility with their families to create space for others to be admitted had always been a major challenge even when they were in stable conditions.
She said mental health was a very serious issue in Ghana, but much attention had not been paid to it by successive governments and the public.
Feeding and treating metal health patients, according to her, was very challenging and stressful given the high cost of food and medical supplies.
The misconceptions and other beliefs associated with mental health have made the situation even worse as people were quick to attribute mental health cases to spirituality, she noted.
Mrs Faustina Nuako, Ashanti Regional Mental Health Coordinator, said her outfit had plans to clear the streets of mental health patients but financial constraints was hampering their efforts.
She said her outfit had sent several proposals to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) for support but was yet to receive any positive response.
She admonished the public to pay much attention to mental health as a disease rather than attributing it to witchcraft and spirituality.
Mrs Nuako also urged the public to support the Regional Mental Health Directorate and the Willingway Foundation to expand and treat many more mental health patients.