BasicNeeds Ghana, on April 30 and May 1, distributed food and other items worth GHȻ 50,000 to 110 persons living with mental health disorders or epilepsy and their caregivers in six (6) districts of the Greater Accra Region. The items, which were donated by the Ghana Civil Society Platform on Sustainable Development Goals, is meant to augment government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19 by helping poor and vulnerable people with mental illness or epilepsy and the families to cope with the undesired effects of the government’s response to the pandemic.
Beneficiaries were drawn from peer support groups of people with mental illness or epilepsy in the Ga North, Ga West, Ledzokuku and Krowor municipalities in the Greater Accra Region. Each beneficiary received a bag of rice, cooking oil, vitamin C, soap and bags of purified drinking water.
Sunday Anaba, project officer at BasicNeeds-Ghana explained to the beneficiaries that the reason for the intervention was to help them cope with state-instituted measures to fight against the spread of COVID-19 because “during crisis periods, vulnerable persons living with mental health conditions risk being further disadvantaged and driven into further obscurity.” He thanked the coalition of CSOs for the donation and expressed the hope that their action would encourage other well-meaning individuals and organisations to support poor persons with mental health conditions and other vulnerable groups during this crisis period.
Ibrahim Musah, Community-Based Rehabilitation Advisor at BasicNeeds-Ghana, used the opportunity to remind the self-help group members to continue to observe health and safety measures instituted by government and health authorities. He encouraged them to regularly wash their hands with soap under running water or use hand sanitizers as often as possible. He strongly recommended to them the need to practice social distancing and avoid physical touch with others while using face masks should they have leave home.
He also appealed to the general public to stop stigmatizing against people infected by the corona virus disease and instead, support them with words of encouragement and to meet their basic needs. He likewise saluted frontline health workers for their great service and sacrifices during these difficult times and appealed to the general public to take public health advisories seriously in order to flatten the curve of the spread of the pandemic.