Ghana to force out 600 cured mental patients

, ACCRA, Jan 19 – Authorities will begin forcing out 600 "cured" mental health patients this week from an overcrowded Ghana hospital, where some have remained despite being discharged decades ago, an official said Tuesday.

"Six hundred cured inmates will be sent home by force because we do not have the resources to take care of them," said Akwasi Osei, the chief psychiatrist at Accra Psychiatric Hospital, the country\’s largest.

"They are well and hearty and can now live with their families."

He said the "ejection" would start on Wednesday, with an initial 30 patients expected to leave. Hundreds of others would be expelled over the course of about six months.

"Some of the cured patients have been discharged from the hospital since 1983, but they are still here because their families refused to come for them," Osei said.

"One of the discharged patients is a teacher who goes out to teach and comes back to eat and sleep."

Built in 1906 with a capacity to hold 600 patients, the clinic currently houses 1,200 people.

Osei said the hospital was struggling to provide for all of them, with many sleeping on the bare floor.