Calls to include mental health care in NHIS intensified

Stakeholders in mental health care are worried about the continuous exemption of mental health care from the National Health Insurance Scheme. This, according to the Director of BasicNeeds Ghana, Peter Yaro, impedes on the treatment of mentally challenged persons in Ghana. An estimated 2.4 million Ghanaians suffer from mental illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) also predicts mental health illness could be the leading global cause of years of life lost to disabilities by 2020 which will surpass AIDS and heart diseases. Moreover, stakeholders are worried about the two percent budget allocation to mental health in the country, which they say is below the 15 percent recommended by World Health Organization. Some non-governmental organizations, including BasicNeeds Ghana, who are making efforts to support the treatment of persons suffering from mental disorders and rehabilitating stabilized patients see sustenance of funding for mental health as a major challenge. Amidst the challenges, BasicNeeds Ghana has been able to reach out to about 35,000 mentally ill persons across 94 districts of Ghana with various forms of treatment. Its Director, Peter Yaro, at the 2016 Annual Implementation Review and Performance Planning meeting in Tamale, expressed concern about the neglect of mental health issues by policy makers. He has therefore called for the inclusion of mental health treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme. He noted that BasicNeeds Ghana has also taken up maternal mental health screening of pregnant women and newly delivered mothers for early signs of depression and mental disorders in forty districts.

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By Zubaida Ismail |]]>


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