Government urged to improve on resource gaps in mental healthcare

Tamale- BasicNeeds-Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has urged government to improve on community-based mental healthcare delivery by giving priority to resource allocation.

It said there had been wide resource gaps hindering effective mental health service delivery in terms of logistics, transportation and medical supplies, among other things.

Mr Fred Nantongmah, the Knowledge Management and Communications Officer at BasicNeeds Ghana, said research showed that there was 97 per cent gap in resources needed to effectively ensure access to mental healthcare in the rural communities.

He was speaking at a forum with the media to disseminate key findings in a Resource Allocation Tracking Exercise for community-based mental health services, undertaken by the NGO in 2018.

It was carried out in 15 districts in five regions of the country; Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra.

The exercise formed part of the NGO’s Accessible and Quality Mental Health Care for Poor and Marginalized Persons with Mental Disabilities Project.

It was funded by Star-Ghana and supported by NORSAAC, Mental Health Society of Ghana, and Centre for People’s Empowerment and Rights Initiative, among others.

The overall objective was to improve on community mental health treatment through increased funding.

Mr Nantongmah said many of the districts covered did not have full complements of staff needed to effectively deliver care in the communities.

Out of GH1,524,185.16 funds allocated to community-based mental health services in the districts, government was the highest contributor of about GH1,339,647.36 among other partners, he said.

Mr Nantongmah said about 98.5 per cent was spent on staff emoluments and capacity building where as only five per cent was allocated to the provision of medical supplies with nothing for office equipment, logistics, furniture and fittings, mental health services and governance.

He said metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies failed to include mental health issues as part of their top priorities, thereby contributing only 0.7 per cent to the sector.

He said data from the World Health Organisation indicates that the country had a 98 per cent gap in mental health treatment, hence the need for government to prioritise those services.

Source: Ghana News Agency