The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mental Health Authority says psychiatric patients will now have to pay upfront before they can receive any attention at psychiatric hospitals across the country
This, Dr Akwasi Osei explained, was as a result of the stoppage of donor funding and the failure on the part of the government to heed to the incessant calls for the support for mental health issues.
“We are back to Cash and Carry at our psychiatric hospitals. Donor support stopped since December last year. Government has not given us the funds to work. Now you’d need anywhere from 500 Ghana cedis to 1000 Ghana cedis to get care. It’s unfortunate but there’s nothing else we can do,” he made these observations yesterday on Starr FM which was monitored by Today.
It would be recalled that last year June, Dr Osei sparked fears when he revealed that mental health patients at facilities were not given enough food to sustain them.
“On many occasions, we’ve had to serve patients with just porridge without bread. Meanwhile, considering the drugs we administer to our patients, they have to be well fed. The food served patients at the hospitals are compromised because there isn’t enough cash. The public is not responding to the issues of mental health as well and that is sad.
“We asked for support from the public some time back and we received just GHC300. It is regrettable that we do not support Mental Health in this country. If we ask people to support a beauty pageant or something, I am sure they would pay more,” he noted.
He disclosed that foreign donors had failed to reach out to the authorities after existing aid programmes ended.
“When the DFID has plans of extending the agreement, they contact us but unfortunately, they’ve not reached out to us this time round. We’ve engaged the ministry and we’ve been assured a number of times that we will receive our cash to run the facilities but as we speak, we’ve not received any cash.”
“The last time I said nobody cared about Mental Health in this country, I thought I would be proven wrong. Nobody called me to ask what our needs were. Nobody cares. In the short-term, the releasing of funds will help but in the long-term, we need the LI on Mental Health Levy passed…it is just simple,” he noted.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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