The Chief Executive officer of the Ghana Health Authority Dr. Akwasi Osei has reiterated the dire state of mental health patients in the country, revealing they are sometimes fed with porridge without bread for the day.
He said the Ghanaian public appears unsympathetic towards the plight of mental health patients hence the refusal of the citizenry to come to their aid despite the numerous appeals.
“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,” the disappointed CEO told Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Monday. Dr. Osei further appealed to government to step up its support to the authority as he feared their major donor DFID will be withdrawing funding soon.
“In a year, we need about GHC22,000,000 to run the facilities. We’ve never ever received the funds we request for in full. The DFID has supported us for 3 years. They are not truncating…we had an agreement with them and it came to an end last year. They extended the support till this year, DFID over the period has spent about 3 million Pounds on us. If we are unable to finish plans for which they released the monies to us, we will have to return their cash to them.
“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.