Health News of 2014-03-19

No money for Mental Health Board – Dr. Akwasi Osei

Dr. Akwasi Osei, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Board, on Wednesday said no seed fund has been allocated to the board for operations in 2014.

He said the Ministry of Health had not provided the board with any seed money to start work but only gave the assurance to make ‘local funding’ available.

Notwithstanding the lack of start-up money, Dr. Osei said the board was poised to work to improve mental health in line with international standards and to protect fundamental human rights of patients.

Dr. Osei made this known during the Greater Accra Mental Health Regional Alliance meeting facilitated by Basic Needs Ghana, a non-governmental organisation.

The meeting was on the theme: ‘Progress Made in the Establishment of the Mental Health Authority and how the Alliance Could Complement Their Efforts in the Development of the Mental Health in Ghana’.

He said the board had secured some funding from the Department For International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom to carry out its activities for the year.

He said the board had also drafted a Legislative Instrument for effective implementation of mental health law and establishment of a mental health fund.

When the LI is finalised and approved, Dr. Osei said private mental clinics, non-governmental organisations, traditional health centres and faith- based organisations into mental health operations would be required to register.

He said the practice would help track and monitor such organisations to ensure they did not maltreat or abuse the rights of mental health patients in the course of administering prescriptions.

Dr. Osei also said the board would liaise with social welfare, the Ghana Police Service and health professionals to clear mental health patients from the streets later this month or in April.

He said a systematic programme dubbed: ‘Operation Clear the Street and Unchain Mental Health Patients’ had been put in place to take mental patients off the streets for treatment in two to three months and reintegrate them into the society

Sharing her experience in mental health with Ghana News Agency, Mrs Mandy Stevens, Ex-Director of Mental Health in Surry, UK, and a Consultant for corporate social responsibility in Ghana expressed the need for government to mount intensive public education on mental health to reduce stigmatisation.

She said UK government embarked on vigorous public education on effects of mental health starting with young people in local communities.

Mrs Stevens said dealing with mental health required long strategy, building community resources, training community officers like psychologists and counsellors, and intensifying basic education.

Source: Daily Guide
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