A research conducted by BasicNeeds Ghana, an advocacy non-governmental organisation (NGO), has revealed that about 98.5 per cent of government’s funding and resources allocations to the Mental Health Service for the year 2018 were spent on payment of staff salaries.
The research findings, made known here during media engagement, were part of STAR-Ghana Gender, Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) initiative.
The research dubbed: ‘Accessible and quality mental health for poor and marginalised persons with mental disabilities’, which was conducted in 30 districts of five regions, was supported with funds provided by STAR-Ghana.
They are Greater Accra, Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions, and it was to help find out the resourcing avenues of community-based mental health care in Ghana.
Whilst the research also disclosed that Internally Generated Funds (IGF) was the main mode of financing non-remunerative expenditure such as logistics, it showed that most of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies failed to include mental health issues in their top priorities.
The research further revealed that whilst there was only five per cent of resource allocation to the provision of medical supplies, there was zero allocation to the provision of office equipment, logistics, furniture and fittings, mental health services and governance.
It advocated for the increased 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 to help the improvement of quality of the health of persons with mental illness or epilepsy in the country.
Speaking at the dissemination forum, the Knowledge Management and Communications Officer of BasicNeeds Ghana, Mr Fred Nantogmah, stated though government was the highest contributor to the community-based mental services with about GH₵1,339,647.36, a total amount of GH₵1,524,185.16, was spent on staff emoluments and capacity building, including people who are on study-leave.
He said there was 97 per cent funding gap for community-based health services and noted that the attainment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) largely depended on mental health, and urged government and other stakeholders to strategically invest in community-based mental health services.
Mr Nantogmah explained that most of the problems confronting the country today could be related to mental health, and stressed the need for stakeholders to view mental health issues as collective responsibility and invest in youth mental health services to help achieve the SDGs.
He said a checklist was developed for each of the 30 districts to be used as a tool for the research.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA