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02 October 2016

Mental health fund needed to save Psychiatric Hospitals – Dr Akwasi Osei

Dr Akwasi OseiThe Mental Health Authority has urged government to pass the Legislative Instrument (LI) on mental health to end the frustration of Psychiatric Hospitals constantly relying on government for funding.

Dr Akwasi Osei, Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, told Citi News the LI includes the establishment of the mental health fund which will provide funds to run the various mental health facilities in the country.

Dr. Osei said, “The mental health law talked about the establishment of a mental health fund. That mental health fund will be fed through the mental health levy which may be part of an existing levy or capitation like NHIA, VAT or road fund.” He added that, the passage of the LI was dependent on the agreement of the Ministry of Finance to provide clarity on how to introduce the levy.

“We’ve not been able to get the Ministry of Finance to put a finger on exactly what it [levy] is. If we are able to do that, it will then go to parliament to be passed and implemented, then we can begin receiving funding and this will not become an issue,” he said.

The Accra Psychiatric Hospital on Wednesday shut down its Out-Patient Department, turning away patients due to the lack of basic supplies. Dr Akwasi Osei has described the situation as worrying.

He said the various Psychiatric Hospitals in the country are “seriously handicapped.” “The Ministry [of Finance] has to simply release money for us to run the service. That notwithstanding, the Board has also been in discussion with the Ministry and the Board is going to convene another emergency meeting on this situation,” he said.

The Accra Psychiatric Hospital on Wednesday shut down its OPD over lack of some working basic items including A4 sheets to record health information.

A member of the Hospital’s Public Relations Unit, Edwina Ankomah, lamented on Eyewitness News that, the hospital is in dire need of basic things like “gloves, disinfectants and stationery and paper.”

Persons who visited the Accra Psychiatric Hospital on Wednesday, were turned away, and the hospital’s administrators have said they were compelled to take such a decision due to worsening financial constraints.

Source: citifmonline.com

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