98.5% of government funding to mental health spent on emoluments

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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