The “Promoting Women Mental Health Rights in Ghana” project, a three-year initiative implemented by Tamale-based NGO Songtaba as part of the Ghana Somubi Dwumadie program, has yielded significant outcomes in the Northern and North East Regions.
A total of 640 women, including alleged witches in the specified regions, benefited from the project's efforts. Notably, the initiative contributed to enhanced evidence and knowledge regarding the reduction of stigma and violence against individuals with mental health conditions. It also fostered a conducive policy environment and institutional support for implementing the Mental Health Act.
At a project close-out meeting in Tamale, Mr. Shani Abdul Kasiru, Head of Programmes, Policy, and Campaigns at Songtaba, shared the positive outcomes.
He highlighted an increased awareness of mental health perceptions in the regions and noted, “There has been some response by state agencies to the challenges that are faced by persons with mental health, especially the women, who are accused of witchcraft.”
Mr. Kasiru emphasized the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection's efforts to address these challenges, including the passage of the Anti-Witchcraft bill.
The project played a crucial role in fostering discussions around mental health and garnering support from key state institutions, such as District Assemblies, to prioritize mental health in their plans and budgets.
Reflecting on the accomplishments, Mr. Kasiru outlined Songtaba's sustainability plan, intending to mobilize resources for continued service provision and advocacy through local platforms.
Stakeholders, including Mr. Mumuni Fuseini, the Northern Regional Mental Health Officer, and Mr. Osman Musah, Gushegu Municipal Coordinating Director, commended the project's focus on neglected areas of mental health, especially for women accused of witchcraft.
Mr. Musah urged a deliberate plan to encourage training for psychiatric nurses to improve care for mental health patients.
Madam Ama Tilichi, Leader at the alleged witches' camp in Gnani, expressed gratitude to project partners, emphasizing its role in restoring hope for the beneficiaries.