In October 2021, the government, through the Greater Accra Regional Minister, launched a campaign to promote the cleaning of the country’s capital, Accra – “Operation Clean Your Frontage.”
This initiative makes it mandatory for individuals and corporate bodies to take up the responsibility of cleaning their surroundings.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Hon. Henry Quartey recruited and trained over 3,500 youth for the initiative. The training was under the supervision of the Ghana Armed Forces.
The program began on February 1, 2022 and involved about 30,000 people in Accra for the clean-up exercise. The campaign had a 10-day program outline, including a house-to-house, markets and shops. They recruited youth educated citizens on the need to clean their environment as well as the health issues that are associated with unclean environments.
Mr. Quartey said, “The time has come for us to ensure that there is discipline in our region and for that matter, our country”.
The initiative was described by the minister as “one, which has come to stay,” but which needed to deal with issues of the “mentally challenged” to have a beautiful and happy ending. He said these people also keep littering the streets. And are found almost everywhere in Accra.
A publication by the Human Rights Watch on October 2, 2012,stated that about 2.8 million Ghanaians have mental disabilities with about 65,0000 of them having severe mental disability.
Again, in an article published by The International Journal of the Mental Health System on April 5, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 13% of the adult population of Ghana is affected by mental disorders of varying forms.
The Ghanaian Times reported that about 20,000 mentally ill persons roam the streets nationwide, especially Accra and Tema. .
These “mentally challenged” people carry rubbish from one point to another, ease themselves anywhere, which adds up to the unclean environment in the Metroplis. They do not have access to the education given to “normal” people to ensure cleanliness. Their issues need to be addressed. There are psychiatric homes for such people but those outside are more than those in these homes.
In October 2019, the Pantang Hospital put in place an initiative that was meant to get the “mentally challenged” persons off the streets of Accra but currently, that initiative has not been fully effected.
A few years ago, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly intensified the sacking of these “mentally challenged” persons who slept under the Kwame Nkrumah interchange but that also has not been fully served.
To ensure the clean Accra that we all want, the “mentally challenged” must also be catered for under the campaign. They need to be taken care of with access to fully furnished shelters where their health needs would be met. This will help to keep them off the streets and for a clean environment.