Ghana, a country with over 2.3 million people is suffering from various mental health conditions says the World Health Organization (WHO).
Mental health care remains a challenge for Ghana, with an approximately 98% treatment gap, according to the WHO Director General’s Special Initiative for Mental Health (DG-SIMH).
WHO believes Ghana though belated in implementing the five-year initiative, which started in 2022 and is supported by the Government of Norway and USAID, aims to allow 100 million more people to access quality and affordable mental health services in 12 countries across the globe, including Ghana but the country is stepping up its efforts.
This was made known at a sustainability planning and business case development workshop held for implementing partners in Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital, to enhance the capacity of implementing regions and partners.
The WHO wants to ensure the sustainability of the initiative and other inventions even after the implementation period. The workshop aimed to build foundational knowledge and expertise of health officers in the regions to effectively pursue, secure, and manage strategic partnerships for sustainable and impactful health programs.
The Non-communicable Diseases and Risk Factors Officer at WHO Ghana, Dr. Joana Ansong, emphasized that Ghana had stepped up efforts to improve mental healthcare, with greater emphasis on sustaining these mental health programs beyond the lifespan of the WHO initiative.
The Deputy Director for Mental Health at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Amma Boadu, praised the foresight of the WHO in seeking to enhance capacity for sustainable programming and pledged the service’s commitment to leverage the new skills to sustain health programs at all levels.
Participants found the workshop timely and insightful, empowering them with the requisite technical knowledge to build strong business cases for sustainable health interventions. Edward Owusu, the Savannah Regional Mental Health Coordinator, expressed his readiness to leverage the skills learned in the workshop, not only for mental health programs but also to showcase it in all other sectors of the country’s economy. Overall, the WHO’s efforts and Ghana’s willingness to implement and sustain initiatives will go a long way in enhancing the quality of mental healthcare in the country.
By Vincent Kubi