Fareham doctor forms unique bond to help mentally-ill people in Africa

GIFTS Dr Mark Roberts in Ghana handing over textbooks that have been donated by The Kintampo Project to the College of Health. He is pictured with Emmanuel Ofori, one of the senior staff at the College of Health
GIFTS Dr Mark Roberts in Ghana handing over textbooks that have been donated by The Kintampo Project to the College of Health. He is pictured with Emmanuel Ofori, one of the senior staff at the College of Health
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PEOPLE with mental health problems in Ghana will get medical attention thanks to a Fareham doctor.

Dr Mark Roberts has formed a link with Kintampo in Ghana by training new mental health workers in the area.

In Ghana, 98 per cent of mentally-ill people will never receive treatment or support and instead rely on traditional healers who tend to use painful procedures in a bid to try to cure them.

Dr Roberts, a psychiatrist based at the Knowle hospital, set up The Kintampo Project four years ago. Now it is launching its own charity called the Kintampo Trust.

Dr Roberts said: ‘For a lot of people it will mean getting back into some form of work or productive activity in their community. It will mean the beginning of reducing the negative stigma around mental health. It will mean that people who would normally go to a traditional healer can get treatment from a western practitioner.’

Dr Teye Adjase, who is leading the project in Ghana, said: ‘In Ghana we have fewer than 14 psychiatrists for a population of 24 million people.

‘In contrast, the UK has around 6,600 psychiatrists. The Kintampo Project and the UK volunteers are absolutely vital in transforming our mental health services in the best possible way – by training new health workers.’

By 2017 the project aims to train hundreds more mental health workers, to provide care to millions of people all over Ghana.