98.5% of government funding to mental health spent on emoluments

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About 98.5 per cent of government funding and resource allocation to mental health services in 2018 was spent on payment of staff emolument, a research finding has shown.

According to the research, though government was the highest
contributor to the community-based mental health services of about
GH₵1,339,647.36 out of the total amount of GH₵1,524,185.16, a greater part was
spent on staff emoluments and capacity building, for staff on study-leave.

The research was conducted by BasicNeeds Ghana, an advocacy Non- Government
Organization (NGO), with funding support from STAR-Ghana on the theme, “Accessible
and quality mental health for poor and marginalised persons with mental
disabilities.”

The finding, which was made known in Bolgatanga at a forum with
the media, was part of STAR-Ghana Gender, Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI)
initiative.

The research, which was conducted in 30 districts from five
regions including Greater Accra, Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper
West Regions, was to under study the resourcing avenues of community-based
mental health care in Ghana.

It was also to advocate increase in budgetary allocations for mental health
care services, improve quality and access to community-based mental health care
services, at the district and community levels leading to improving the health
of persons with mental illness including epilepsy in Ghana.

Speaking at the dissemination forum, Mr Fred Nantogmah, the
Knowledge Management and Communications Officer, BasicNeeds Ghana, said there
was 97 per cent funding gap for community based health services.

According to him, the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District
Assemblies failed to include mental health issues as part of their top
priorities, and Internally Generated Funds (IGF) was the main mode of financing
non-remunerative expenditure such as logistics, mental health services and
governance among others.

The research further revealed that there was only five per cent of
resource allocation to the provision of medical supplies, zero allocation to
the provision of office equipment, logistics, furniture and fittings, mental
health services and governance.

He said while the findings pointed out that resource support from MMDAs was
practically non-existent, of about 0.7 percent, there was significant support
from other, non-traditional, sources especially in office equipment and
transportation.

He said the attainment of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) largely depended on the mental health of the citizenry and called on
government and other stakeholders to strategically invest in community-based
mental health services.

Mr Nantogmah explained that most of the problems confronting the country were as a result of attitudes of the people, which was a function of mental health and added that there was the need for stakeholders to view mental health issues as collective responsibility and invest in youth mental health services to help achieve the SDGs.  

Source: GNA

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