Stakeholders discuss mental health financing
Dr Akwasi Osei, Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), has suggested the establishment of a mental health levy to ensure effective implementation of the Mental Health law
He said stakeholders must join hands to ensure its establishment, “civil society organizations may conduct research to know whether the public will be happy to contribute to the establishment of the fund which will cater for all persons suffering from mental health”.
Dr Osei said the other alternative to financing mental health in Ghana is to commit a part of all the other funds to establish the mental health levy.
He said this when he made a presentation at an inter-ministerial forum on Mental Health Financing organized by Basic Needs, Ghana, with support from Star Ghana Foundation.
The forum brought together stakeholders working in the area of mental health to deliberate on effective ways to finance mental health in Ghana.
Dr Osei said there was the need to mobilize new resources, mobilize public funds, manage existing resource and strengthen internal control system to ensure efficiency in the community based mental health care, decrease institutional mental health care and provide research grants for mental health.
He also pointed out that the National Health Insurance Scheme did not cover mental health care and the governance structure of the Mental Health Authority has not been fully established because of the lack of funds.
Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, Acting Executive Director of Star Ghana Foundation, a non-governmental organization, promoting active citizenship, said the organization was also concerned about social inclusion and will be happy to see persons with mental health issues included in society.
He expressed the hope that with the 2020 electioneering campaign, political hopefuls will prioritize inclusion issues which also include mental health.
Mr Mawautor Ablo, Director in Charge of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said Ghana’s social protection policies promoted production, inclusion and decent work to sustain families and communities that were vulnerable.
Mr Ablo suggested that a joint cabinet memo should be put together by the responsible ministries to help expand the fiscal space for mental health issues.
Alhaji Sulemann Bening, Deputy Chief Planning Officer at the Ministry of Health, announced that the legislative instrument on the Mental Health Law had now been passed, saying, it demonstrated government’s commitment to mental health issues in Ghana.
Mr Alexander Bankole Williams, National Advocacy Director of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations, said the free mental health care as touted by government was only free by label and called on government to show more commitment.