Dr. Akwasi Osei, Chief Executive of Ghana Mental Health Authority
Chief Executive of Ghana Mental Health Authority is asking the government to commit more funding to the management of mental health in the country.
Dr. Kwasi Osei says though the government has twice released funds to the Authority this year, it is not enough to promote the wellbeing of patients.
Speaking at the 59th Annual General Conference of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Osei observes the government has been abusing the rights of mental health patients by failing to attend to their needs.
According to him, there were no budgetary allocations for the three psychiatric hospitals in the country in 2016, a situation which put pressure on managers of the facilities.
Dr. Osei wants government to pay more attention to mental health in Ghana.
“Mental healthcare receives very little or no support. Our financial support has been very weak over the last few years. Indeed last year, for instance, there were no budgetary releases to the three psychiatric hospitals until agitations by the nurses led to some paltry releases.
“It would be said that, if we admit patients and we do not have money to provide adequate feeding to them, that amounts to state-sponsored human right abuse. The government is abusing the rights of the mentally ill because the government is asking us to admit them and yet do not give us money to feed them,” he said.
Dr. Osei has appealed to the government to absorb postgraduate training cost in psychiatry and all related specialities and also constitute the Mental Health Board and pass Legislative Instrument to Mental Health Act, Act 846.
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.
This, according to Dr. Osei will help spread mental healthcare across the country.