Basic-Needs Ghana has called on government to include mental health onto the National Health Insurance Scheme.
The organization entreated government to facilitate an option for mental health service users to use their NHIS cards to access mental health services and to scrap the free mental health policy that is preventing the NHIS from covering mental health service treatment.
According to Basic-Needs, the treatment of mental health is so expensive because of the free policy of mental health care in Ghana, adding that, the NHIS is not picking up mental health treatment, hence, people who need mental health care have to pay for the services.
“We have a lot to do to promote community base mental health care in Ghana, thus, the Government should pay more attention to mental health services”.
A research conducted by Basic-Needs revealed that, there is still a tremendous amount of resources needed to be able to run mental health services effectively in Ghana.
The research which covered mental health services in 15 Districts in the Northern Region discovered that there is 97% gap in resources needed to run community base mental health care.
According to the research, there is also 96% resource level in terms of logistics needed to run mental health services in particular districts.
Mr. Frederick Nantongmah, the Communications Officer, BasicNeeds- Ghana, addressing journalists in Tamale said that, 78% resource gap is needed to train and retrain mental health staff to provide the services that are needed at the community level.
He however, said the research reveals that, Government is contributing more than 87% of resources in terms of emolument to pay mental health workers.
Mr. Nantomah argued that, there is no rational in paying staff without given them the resources to work.
He lamented that, facilities, equipment and supplies needed to run mental health services in these 15 districts is virtually non-existence, adding that, government only provided 5% of medical suppliers in the 15 districts covered in the research.
“it is no surprise that the World health Organisation (WHO) says, Ghana has a 98% treatment gap in terms of mental health care. this is very worrying considering that mental illness can affect anyone at any point in time and age,mental illness is no respecter of persons and its sadly robbing a lot of people in the community from achieving their potentials as human beings”.
He urged that, actors and managers should provide mental health institutions with a mechanism to measure the amount of resources that are coming into their districts to run mental health services.
FROM Eric Kombat, Tamale