We’ve not received even a pesewa from gov't – Mental Health Authority boss laments

Trapped to a piece of log for being mentally ill[/caption] The Accra Psychiatric Hospital, the Pantang Psychiatric Hospital and other psychiatric hospitals in Accra are said to receive an average of 40 patients a day. The Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, disclosed the alarming statistics Tuesday, May 15, on 3FM‘s Sunrise while bemoaning the neglect of the Authority by government. “On a day on the average, we receive about 40 aggressive patients in within Accra: that is Accra Psychiatric hospitals, Ankaful and others,” he stated. 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 health delivery in the country. “The psychiatric hospitals have received not even a pesewa. So you can imagine how they are surviving,” he complained. He said the failure of government to give the psychiatric hospitals money to run the facilities has forced them to run the facilities on credit, owing creditors for as long as three years. “They’re only living on credit. Well, I must say part of it, they’re living on credit,” he said “In fact, we have owed suppliers up to two, three years,” he added ‘Promises-upon-promises’ He indicated that the hospitals have on a few occasions been taken to court over debts that they owe. Dr. Osei also said the situation has forced hospitals to engage in acts not approved by law to offer services to mental health patients because they have run out of options. “You are not supposed to pay anything. Somebody is supposed to pay for you and the government should give us the money and the government is not giving money, so part of the cost is shared with the patient which is an illegality but again that’s the only way they can survive. “If you go to psychiatric hospitals, you’re not supposed to pay anything by law,” he emphasized. According to him, government’s response to the situation has been “promises-upon-promises” and that all attempts to get Parliament to pass the Legislative Instrument (LI) which sets up a mental health levy to finance mental health proved futile. Meanwhile, Dr. Osei is advocating for the modification of the Narcotics Law to the new grade of Tramadol. According to him, Tramadol is already a narcotic drug controlled by Narcotics Law but the new 200mg and 300mg that is reportedly being abused is not captured under the law.

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By P.D Wedam|3news.com|Ghana ]]>