6TH OCTOBER, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
MAKE MENTAL HEALTH A PRIORITY, INSTEAD OF GOLD CARAT WATCHES
Participatory Development Associates (PDA) is by this press release calling on government to make mental health a priority by meeting its obligations to mental health patients at the country’s psychiatric hospitals for their smooth running. The Daily Graphic’s online news portal of the 15th August 2016, reported that the Accra Psychiatric Hospital had stopped admissions due to lack of funds and the huge debt it owed its suppliers.
Subsequently, the Ministry of Health released an amount of 1.5 million Ghana Cedis to be shared equally among the three psychiatric hospitals, namely Pantang, Ankaful and Accra, to offset some of the debt owed suppliers. The amount which is not enough to offset the debts, led to the decision by the management of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital to go ahead to suspend admission for new cases, as well as, operations at its outpatient department. The debt involved is 4.2 million Ghana Cedis. However, the 521,000 Ghana Cedis, which is its share of the money released by government, came with specific instructions that they should use the money to make payment to its suppliers.
It is against this background that we at PDA find it shocking, the decision by the Central Bank of Ghana to spend 2 million Ghana Cedis (EUR 450,000) of tax payers money on gold carat watches for its staff who are due for retirement in 2016/2017 after 30 years serving with the bank.
At PDA, we believe everyone matters and the needs of mental patients and other vulnerable citizens in our society must be given priority attention. A society, it is said, is judged by how it treats its vulnerable. We call on government to stop the Bank of Ghana from purchasing the gold watches and to direct it to put the money aside as a contribution towards the Mental Health Fund.
In this regard, we call on the government to as a matter of urgency, come up with the legislative instrument for the Mental Health Act that will make the Mental Health Fund operational.
Mental health patients matter, everyone matters!
Glowen Kyei Mensah -Managing Director