Health News of 2014-04-17

Mental health legislative instrument initiated

The Mental Health Authority (MHA) has initiated a legislative instrument (LI) to facilitate the effective implementation of the Mental Health Act of 2012 (Act 846).

Presenting an overview of the draft LI at a workshop in Accra on Tuesday, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the MHA, Dr Akwasi Osei, said the LI would help improve and maintain quality mental health care and delivery in the country.

He said the LI made provision for the welfare of patients, including adequate accommodation free from congestion, adequately aerated and illuminated, protected from rains, rodents and reptiles, and clean with storage and laundry facilities.

According to him, it also stipulated procedures for attaining standards and quality health care as prescribed by the Health Facilities Regulatory Act and practitioners’ professional standards.

To achieve efficient customer service delivery and discipline in mental institutions, Dr Osei said the LI further made provision for the establishment of a tribunal which relatives, carers or counselors could contact when they had complaints.

MHA commended

The Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey, in a statement read on her behalf, said that Human Rights Watch published damning reports about the rights of the mentally ill in Ghana and highlighted numerous problems such as the congestion and insanitary conditions at psychiatric hospitals, inadequate mental health facilities and personnel nationwide, among other problems.

She said the government, in a bid to address mental health challenges in Ghana, enacted the Mental Health Act of 2012 (Act 846) and instituted the MHA. According to her, what was required to ensure quality mental health care through the enacted law was an LI.

Ms Ayittey urged the MHA not to relent on its efforts until the LI was finally passed and made operational.

According to her, the initiative proved that the MHA was capable of implementing the Mental Health Act to ensure that challenges facing mental health care and its delivery were addressed, as well as raise mental health care in Ghana to international standards.

She said the government would continue to make mental health a priority and work hard for mental health care and delivery to attain international standards.

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