Korle Bu gets new psychiatry building …2 for Ashanti, Northern regions soon

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commissioned a Psychiatry Department building for the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.

The facility, which serves the University of Ghana and the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, was funded by the private sector.

The ultra-modern office complex, called ‘The Melody,’ stands in the memory of the late Melody Millicent Danquah, the first female pilot and squadron leader, and the first to fly an aeroplane solo. She was forced to retire from the service in her 50s due to mental health challenges.

President Akufo-Addo,(middle) cutting a ribbon to inaugurate the building

“This state-of-the-art facility not only serves the University of Ghana Medical School, but also serves the larger Korle Bu Teaching Hospital community. It has a conference room, students lecture hall, faculty research offices, a serene waiting area conducive to teaching and learning, consulting rooms, therapy rooms, a treatment room, a pharmacy, and an observation room,” the President listed.

He commended the “beautiful partnership” between the public and private sector that birthed the facility, remarking that it “show what can be achieved when the experts sit with the private sector.”

President Akufo-Addo, in his address at the ceremony to commission the facility yesterday, bemoaned the lack of access to such medical centres across the country, and advocated the need to solve it.


The President opined that the building, championed by a public-private partnership, deepened the government’s commitment to advancing mental health care in Ghana.

He announced “with some pride” that the government had added two psychiatric hospitals to the Agenda 111 hospital project, to be built in the Ashanti and Northern regions.


According to the President, mental health care played a significant role in the economy of the nation, contributing an estimated 3% to the total gross domestic product (GDP). This meant that GH¢3 of every GH¢100 was attributed to mental health care in Ghana.

President Akufo-Addo,(middle), in a photograph with CEO of KBTH (4th left), VC of UG,and some Gov’t officials

He referred to statistics to say that only 3% of patients who need care receive it in an orthodox psychiatry setting due to geographic barriers, stigma, economic challenges, limited human resources, and inadequate infrastructure.

He said he was aware of the research conducted by some 7% of GDP is lost annually by Ghanaian workers due to psychological distress leading to loss of productive hours.


However, he mentioned that the government was working to address the disparity by prioritising mental health and increasing funding by 200% since assuming office to support comprehensive care.

He mentioned the Mental Health Act, passed in 2012, whose reforms have led to a coordinated approach to mental health care.

In 2019, the government launched the legislative instrument for mental health, which established the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders.

The government, in March this year, also decriminalised suicide in Ghana. “This progressive move will help reduce stigma, improve access to care, and enhance outcomes for individuals struggling with suicidal force and behavior in the country,” the President asserted.


Professor Angela Ofori-Atta, immediate past Head of Department, told the story behind the building, for which she mobilized funds.

According to her, the facility saw the light of day following decades of persistent advocacy for a modern building, but to no avail.

The idea was reignited in 2016 when Melody, her mother died, after falling into a deep clinical depression that made it almost impossible to function.

“In spite of all the mental health challenges, she rose to the rank of squadron leader before being forced to retire in her early 50s,” the wife of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, narrated.

She indicated that the facility was to motivate and inspire the young ones who receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, as her mother was able to overcome that to work in the military, despite battling mental health issues all her life.

The Chief Executive Office of the KBTH, Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah, told the President how the hospital was faring and the importance of the psychiatry department building to the general health care delivery at Korle Bu.

The Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, said the occasion aligned with the vision of his ministry to have a healthy population.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, described the commissioning as a landmark moment not only for the school but for the entire country.


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