- only 1% of health budget goes to mental healthcare
Only one percent of the entire national health budget is annually allocated to mental healthcare, CEO of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), Dr. Akwasi Osei has revealed.
The inadequate support from government towards mental health financing, Dr. Osei explained to the Goldstreet Business, has compelled the MHA to solicit support from private organizations.
Mental Health Data
Data from the WHO indicates that over 50,000 Ghanaians are suffering from severe mental disorder with about 2,166,000 being victims of moderate to mild mental disorder.
Recent requests by MHA
In 2017, the authority requested GHS21 million for all three psychiatric hospitals: Accra, Ankaful and Pantang but government initially offered only GHS2 million for all three.
“Towards the end of last year, another GHS9 million was released, amounting to GHS11 million in all, and that quietly helped in redeeming some of our debts,” Dr. Osei said at a Mental Health Stakeholder Meeting in Accra.
Dr. Osei however maintained that Ghana needs a sustainable funding approach to mental health issues if significant results are to be achieved.
Currently, mental health patients pay at least GHS1000 before admission at any of the three mental hospitals nationwide.
Though budgetary allocations to the Health Ministry marginally increased from GHS4.23 billion in 2017 to GHS4.42 billion this year, the MHA maintains that care for mental health patients have not received the needed funding from government.
For instance in 2016, there were no budgetary allocations to the three psychiatric hospitals until agitations by the nurses led to some paltry releases.
The Mental Health Bill
Though the Mental Health Bill was passed into law in 2012, it lacks the necessary LI for its smooth implementation to help remove human rights barriers surrounding the treatment and upkeep of persons with mental illness.
The Second Lady, Mrs. Samira Bawumia explained that mental health issues need to be seen and valued alongside physical illness.
“The stigma prevalent in previous generations need to be replaced with a culture of understanding and respect,” she implored.
Deputy Health Minister, Tina Mensah, noted that the improvement of mental health is not only government’s responsibility but a national duty.
“Government remains committed to mental health and well-being of all citizens. We have made some strides but we need collaborations to do more,” she said.
The Mental Health Stakeholder Meeting/Johnson & Johnson
The Mental Health stakeholder meeting was organized by Johnson and Johnson in an effort to create increased visibility and social awareness of mental health illness.
The meeting was to rally nationwide support for immediate action to better treat and care for people living with mental disorders.
In her remarks, Priscilla Owusu-Sekyere, Country Manager for Johnson & Johnson said: “we are delighted to add our contribution to this important cause and build on our extensive experience by supporting victims through this platform.
She reiterated the company’s commitment to work with government and other stakeholders to change the trajectory of mental health prevention, treatment and care.
“Johnson & Johnson already leads and sponsors several events in the country, focused on building professional capacity, strengthening health systems and providing care vulnerable patients in neglected communities.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe