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11 February 2017

‘Help to get LI on Mental Health Act approved’

agyemanu

Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu

Two mental health advocacy organisations have called on the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, to take pragmatic steps to ensure that Parliament approves the legislative Instrument (LI) on the Mental Health Act, 2012 (846).

The organisations, BasicNeeds-Ghana and the Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG), said the lack of progress in getting the LI approved for the past five years hindered the full implementation of the provisions of the Act.

The Mental Health Act (Act 846) was passed in 2012 as a measure to provide effective and efficient mental health delivery in the country.

The Act

Per the Act, persons with mental illness are supposed to have their separate wards at health facilities; but that is not the case due to lack of the required infrastructure and logistics.

The Act also makes provision for the Mental Health Authority (MHA) to ensure that actual financial allocations are made into the Mental Health Fund.

Explaining the position of the two organisations to the Daily Graphic in an interview yesterday, the Executive Director of BasicNeeds-Ghana, Mr Badimak Peter Yaro said the LI was needed to empower the MHA to implement the provisions of  the Act.

“The Act has stated clearly that there is the need to establish the Mental Health Fund, but the LI will give clear cut directives as to how the funds will be generated.

“It will also determine how much should be paid by entities, as well as the sanctions for non-compliance,” he added.

Other concerns

The two bodies further called on the Ministry of Health (MoH) to take immediate steps to include the cost of mental health care services in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

According to Mr Yaro, the move was to ensure that mental health services were made accessible to the public, especially, the vulnerable group.

“We also want the Ministry of Health (MoH) to include mental health disorders in the benefits package of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

“This proposal was made to the independent technical review committee that reviewed the NHIS in 2016 and was duly considered, but has not been implemented yet,” he said.

Another key concern raised by the mental health organisations is the need for a mental health service user to be included on the Board of the MHA.

Mr Yaro observed that currently, people who had recovered from mental health did not have a representation on the MHA Board, adding that “it is people who have experienced mental health disorders that will be in a better position to make practical contributions on mental health services.”

He also urged the MoH, and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to roll out national programmes that would promote mental health care, saying that such initiatives ought to focus on the integration of mental health care at all levels of the health care delivery.

 

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