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N/R: Pass Mental Health Levy-Mental Health Specialist to Government

Ghana faces enormous mental health challenges, including lack of mental health professionals and clinical infrastructure, poor or inconsistent access to medication, and pervasive societal stigma around mental illness. For this reason a mental health Specialist Issach Borlu has added his voice to a call by Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority Akwasi Osei, for the passing of the Mental Health Levy in parliament to resolve hurdles facing mental health workers across the length and breadth of the country.

He said the lack of funding to support mental care activities in psychiatric hospitals, forces workers to charge for the treatment. According to him, without charging fees there will be no proper running of mental health services in the country, most especially the psychiatric hospitals, hence the need for government to support the sector.

Mr Borlu explaining to Zaa news however noted that the day the Mental Health Levy will be passed will be the end of the “illegal” charging of fees from patients by the various psychiatric hospitals in the country. Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority Akwasi Osei last week stated that the lack of funding by government to the psychiatric hospitals in the country forces the institutions to charge fees from patients which were supposed to be free as sanctioned by the constitution of Ghana.

Mr Borlu said the reality is that the fees were supposed to be free for the citizenry but government has to provide adequate funding to cater for the bills incurred by the citizenry at the various mental health institutions dotted around the country.

He lamented because government has not held its part of the bargain by providing funds for the authority to take care of the psychiatric institutions in the country they are left with two options, to either deny admission to patients or to admit them and let them pay for it, which in his opinion is illegal. Mr Borlu said the levy if passed will make a great difference in dealing with mental health related issues in the country.
By: Lilian D. Walter/zaanews.com/Ghana

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