Veronica Asamoah Tortor, the Dormaa West District Director of Health, has expressed worry about alcohol abuse among pregnant women in the district.
She said the unhealthy lifestyle of the pregnant women was contributing to the rise in epilepsy cases in the communities.
In an interview with Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Nkrankwanta in the Brong-Ahafo Region, Mrs Tortor, said out of the 154 recorded cases of mental illness in the area, 74 of them were epilepsy, adding that cases were detected among women and children between ages 3 and 35.
She said alcohol abuse was very addictive and dangerous to human health and advised women to refrain from alcoholism, as its repercussions on pregnant women and their unborn babies are enormous.
Though Mrs Tortor could not readily provide figures, she said malaria remains the highest Out Patient Department (OPD) cases in the district.
Mr Bartholomew Nyanu, the District’s Mental Health Officer, expressed concern about the intermittent shortages of mental health drugs, which was impeding the recovery process of patients.
He said for the past two years the Regional Medical Store has not supplied his unit with mental health drugs, though case detection in the area was rife.
Cases are mostly recorded at Kwame Yeboakrom, Kwakuanya, Nkrankwanta, Brofoyeduru, Gyasse and Akurakesu communities.
Mr Nyanu said because many people linked epilepsy to family curse or witchcraft, stigmatisation of patients was high in the area.
Ruling out such wrong societal perception, the District Mental Health Officer, said if patients strictly adhered to the course of drugs, they could be cured.
Mr Nyanu advised parents not to hide their children with mental illnesses at homes, but support them to access medication for their recovery.