Residents in the Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly of the Greater Accra Region on Tuesday, 26 October, 2021 defied the strong winds and heavy rain to attend a community durbar structured to educate them on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of Persons with mental health conditions.
The durbar was meant to raise awareness and equip the public with the requisite knowledge on issues bothering on access to information on SRHR for people with mental health disorders, family planning methods, sexually transmitted infection prevention methods as well as how to demand their rights at various health facilities.
Funded by Amplify Change, the health session was put together by the Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG)in partnership with BasicNeeds, NORSAAC and CPRI.
Hosted at the Laskala market in Teshie, a suburb of Accra, the event brought together Market Women, Traditional Birth Attendants, Health workers, Traditional Rulers, opinion leaders, the Police, Assembly Members, Mental health Service Users and Caregivers, Taxi Drivers among others.
Addressing the durbar, Dr. Jacqueline Sfarijlani, Municipal Health Director of the Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly stated that it is important to ensure that everyone, particularly people with mental health disorders takes good care of their reproductive health.
She observed that challenges faced by Persons with mental health problems are not necessarily part of having a disability, but instead, often reflect a lack of social attention, legal protection, understanding, and support.
“That said, one can say that persons with mental health problems often cannot obtain even the most basic information about SRHR. Thus, they remain ignorant of basic facts about themselves, their bodies and their rights to define what they do and do not want.”
She lamented that SRHR and services 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.
She stated that it is important to ensure that human rights dimensions are systematically and clearly integrated into the provision of contraceptive information and services.
Assistant Director at the Assembly, Edward Opoku was full of praise for the Mental health Advocacy organizations for putting together such an all-important programme.
He encouraged participants, particularly Persons with Disability to try as much as possible to get closer to the Assembly to access certain benefits such as the Disability Common Fund among others.
On his part, Humphrey Kofie, Executive Secretary of MEHSOG, 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.
Mr Kofie indicated that it is important for every individual to have access to the services related to reproductive health.