Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has rejected claims by the Mental Health Authority that the government has neglected mental healthcare in the country to the extent that psychiatric hospitals in the country have not received a pesewa this year.
Chief Executive Officer of the Authority painted a gloomy picture about government support to psychiatric healthcare, stating “the psychiatric hospitals have received not even a pesewa. So you can imagine how they are surviving,” he complained.
According to him, the Authority, which is in charge of mental health delivery in the country, has not received any budgetary allocation from government almost half way into the year, a situation that has stalled mental healthcare delivery in the country.
Responding, Mr. Agyeman-Manu on Friday said the claims by the Dr. Kwesi Osei are hard to believe because they do not reflect the situation on the ground.
“It’s quite unfortunate…if that is what is coming out I don’t know what might have prompted him to have said that. I still do not want to believe that is what he said”, Mr. Manu said on 3FM.
He explained that they inherited a huge debt from the previous administration but the government has since been able to clear some of the debt and is doing all it can to make things work.
“We inherited massive debt from the mental health authority, last year we managed to give them psyco-medications. All we need to do to support mental health; I think government has been playing its part.
“We have cleared virtually some significant portion of the debt that we inherited in terms of feeding and other expenditures that have been made on credit to support mental health patients”, said
On the claim that the only source of respite for the mental health facilities is the benevolence of individuals and groups, the Health Minister said living on the benevolence of philanthropists is not peculiar to only the mental health authority but the entire health sector.
“That has always been the case, there has never been an occasion in this country where benevolent people, philanthropist, donors haven’t supported, not only mental health but to our health systems”, observed.
He further stated government is trying to make the best out of the limited resources hence urged the Authority to exercise patience and mange with the little that is available.
“Like I told you earlier, the whole year, not a single agency in the ministry or in the health sector has received any significant votes. We have all been relying on meager donor support that we are receiving for our activities but we’re running so when there is a challenge, we all have to face it,” he said.
P.D Wedam |3news.com|Ghana