Government’s inability to release funds to the Mental Health Authority is taking a toll on patients as they are being made to pay for services.
The Mental Health Authority has complained that the government has not released any funds to it in the last six months.
[contextly_sidebar id=”Mvy0tisWrnyGOMywiyazKEYIPcI4067m”]”Not a pesewa has come from the ministry. It is really worrying,” the CEO of the Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, remarked to Citi News.
Dr Akwasi Osei stressed that the funding was necessary for the effective care of mentally ill patients.
“For six months, almost the middle of the year, we have not had a pesewa from the central government; from the Ministry of Health. And not only the Mental Health Authority but also the psychiatric hospitals and patients have to be fed; they have to be given medications, they have to be given detergents and what not.”
According to the Authority, the situation has led to them offloading some operational costs onto the patients.
“They [psychiatric hospitals] offload part of the cost onto patients, but by law, if you are a patient and you go there, you are not supposed to pay anything,” Dr Akwasi Osei noted.
Psychiatric hospitals have been plagued with such problems in the past, with the instances of them turning away patients due to the lack of basic supplies.
At a point, the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital in the Central Region threatened to discharge over 100 patients due to the lack of funds to run the facility.
Need for mental health fund
The Mental Health Authority has, in the past, urged the government to pass the Legislative Instrument (LI) on mental health to end the frustration of Psychiatric Hospitals continually relying on government for funding.
The LI includes the establishment of the mental health fund which will provide funds to run the various mental health facilities in the country.
Ghana has a Mental Health Bill that was passed into law in 2012, but observers have noted that it lacks the necessary LI for its smooth implementation to help navigate the problems that have plagued mental health care in Ghana.
“The mental health law talked about the establishment of a mental health fund. That mental health fund will be fed through the mental health levy which may be part of an existing levy or capitation like NHIA, VAT or road fund,” Dr Akwasi Osei has said in the past.
By: Marie Franz Fordjoe & Delali Adogla-Bessa/citinewsroom.com/Ghana