Enhancing general healthcare delivery: NHIS to cover mental health …President assures

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yester­day inaugurated an ultramodern building facility for the Psychi­atry Department of the University of Ghana Medical School at Kor­le-Bu in Accra.

The facility, dubbed ‘The Melody’ was named after the first female pilot for the Ghana Airforce, Squadron Leader Melody Danquah who herself suffered from some level of mental depression while in active service and out of service.

It was funded by the Department of Psychiatry with support from the private sector and has been de­signed with the necessary ancillary inputs to ensure efficient teaching and delivery of mental health ser­vices in the country.

It has among other things a waiting area, consulting rooms, offices, conference and lecture halls, treatment room, pharmacy, picture room and a serene ambience for patient care.

Inaugurating the building, Presi­dent Akufo-Addo said the country was making positive strides towards the fulfillment of its promise to en­sure access to affordable healthcare for all.

He said the government remained steadfast in im­proving the National Health Insurance Scheme while expanding healthcare in­frastructure and enhancing general healthcare delivery.

President Akufo-Addo said the NHIS considered mental health as a matter of justice and equality as such, was working to include it on the NHIS list in order to cater for some of the expenses of patients.

The President explained that the contribution of mental health to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was estimated at three per cent, implying that for every GH¢100 produced in the country, GH¢3.00 was attributed to the mental health­care sector.

“This will suggest that the sector plays a significant role in the overall economic output of the country,” he emphasised.

Furthermore, the President said seven per cent of the country’s GDP was lost annually by ordinary Ghanaians reporting a lack of wellness.

“It is programmes such as those manned by the Psychiatry Depart­ment and having a place like this to run to that whittles away the loss of seven per cent of GDP and allows us to be more productive as a nation,” he stressed.

President Akufo-Addo said Ghanaians must acknowledge the challenges that existed with the mental health sector, stressing that “many Ghanaians still lacked access to these critical mental health services.”

He said it was in this light that his government had committed to constructing two more psychiatric hospitals in Kumasi and Tamale to serve the needs of the northern and southern belts.

“Statistics shows that only three per cent of patients that need care, receive it from orthodox psychiat­ric settings. Geographic barriers, economic challenges and training opportunities as well as inadequate infrastructure contribute to this disparity,” he added.

Nonetheless, the President said his government was making sig­nificant strides in addressing these challenges.

“We have prioritised mental health and increased funding by over 200 per cent over the course of the last six years to support comprehensive care,” he said.

On his part, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said the inauguration of the state of the art facility aligned with the vision of the Ministry of Health (MoH).

He said MoH had made remark­able strides in mental healthcare services to countries in the sub-re­gion.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said gov­ernment would continue to offer financial support to hospitals to improve mental health services in the country.


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