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General News of Sunday, 24 June 2018

Source: Mypowerfmonline.com

Psychiatric patients may troop to Parliament if funds are not released – Dr Akwasi Osei

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei has cautioned government to commit the funding it promised the Authority on time to help manage the mental health facilities in the country.

Dr Osei who was speaking to Daakyehene Ofosu Agyeman on Power News on Power 97.9FM Thursday night indicated that his office was promised funds for the effective care of mentally ill patients after Parliament approved of its disbursement but he has heard nothing since.

He said government's inability to release funds to the Authority is taking a toll on patients as they are being made to pay for some services rendered to them, which he added does not sit well with him.

Dr Osei continued the psychiatric “patients may march to Parliament” to ask for their funds if the government fails to disburse the funds due them.

When quizzed why the patients would march to the lawmaking chamber, Dr Osei was quick to add that if the Authority cannot take care of the patients, they may be forced to discharge them into the society and some are likely to march to Parliament for their share of the funds.

He did not understand why an amount of five hundred and twenty-nine thousand Cedis (GH 529,000) which is due them has not hit their accounts after several assurances from the government.

“For six months, almost the middle of the year, we have not had a pesewa from the government; from the Ministry of Health… It is not only the Mental Health Authority but also the psychiatric hospitals and patients have to be fed, they have to be given medications, they have to be given detergents and other supplies,” Dr Osei lamented.

Touching on the best way to resolve the anomaly, Dr Osei suggested that the passage of a Legislative Instrument (LI) on mental health which will establish a mental health fund to provide funds to run health facilities is the only solution to their frustrations.

The Mental Health Bill was passed into law in 2012 but lacks the necessary LI for its smooth implementation to help tackle the financial challenges that have plagued mental health care in Ghana.