Constitute and inaugurate Mental Health Board- Alliance to gov’t
Alliance for Mental Health and Development has called on President Akufo-Addo, Health, Finance Ministers and Parliamentarians to ensure that Mental Heath Governing Board is constituted inaugurated as a matter of urgency.
They further tasked government to use the opportunity during the celebration of World Mental Health Day to address the numerous challenges affecting mental health in the country.
A statement signed and issued by the Executive Director of BasicNeeds-Ghana, Peter Yaro Bidmak said the Mental Health Authority has no Governing Board since the previous Board ends their tenure.
“It has been (10) months into 2021 and a new Board is yet to be constituted and inaugurated in line with Section 4 of the Mental Health Law (Act 846, 2012)”, the statement said.
The statement further explained that, the Alliance call is in line with Section 4 (2) of Mental Health Act, which states that, the members of the Governing Board shall be appointed by the President in accordance with article (70) of the Constitution.
The Alliance again expressed their appreciation to government based on the promise to build two new mental health hospitals which would be cited in the middle and northern belt of the country.
Below is the statement from the Alliance
Mental Health Alliance Calls on Government to Constitute and Inaugurate the Mental Health Board
We, the Alliance for Mental Health and Development (also known as the Mental Health Alliance), on this occasion of the 2021 World Mental Health Day, here call on the Government of Ghana (GoG), particularly, the President, Minister of Health, Minister of Finance, and the honourable Parliament of the Republic to take the opportunity of this international day for mental health to address the numerous challenges confronting Ghana’s Mental Health sector. We particularly ask the Minister of Health to constitute the Governing Board of the Mental Health Authority as a matter of urgency.
The Mental Health Authority has not had a Governing Board since the previous Board completed its tenure. It has been 10 months into 2021 and a new Board is yet to be constituted and inaugurated in line with Section 4 of the Mental Health Law (Act 846, 2012). This call of the Mental Health Alliance is in line with Section 4(2) of the Mental Health Act which states that the members of the Board shall be appointed by the President in accordance with article 70 of the Constitution.
According to Section 4(3) of the Mental Health Law (Act 846, 2012), “The Board shall ensure the proper and effective performance of the functions of the Authority”. The delay in constituting the Board is, therefore, hampering the effective functioning of the Mental Health Authority. The Mental Health Alliance fears that any further delay in constituting a new Board will negatively affect the successful implementation of the National Mental Health Policy and the momentum gained by mental health advocates in advancing mental health development in Ghana. Without a functioning Board, the Mental Health Alliance is convinced that it will be difficult for the Mental Health Authority to mobilise the resources it requires to operate effectively.
At this critical time, when the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in the mental health systems of many countries including Ghana, it is important for Government to translate its promises into reality by effectively investing in the development of Ghana’s mental health system through concrete actions so that the mental health sector of the country’s health system is not left behind.
The Mental Health Authority gained significant achievements under the previous Governing Board. Notable among these achievements are the collaboration with key stakeholders to develop a framework to guide the practice of traditional and faith-based healers and bringing into being a National Mental Health Policy. The stage is, thus, set for the Mental Health Authority to capitalise on the goodwill mental health advocacy is currently enjoying, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, to bring real benefit to persons with mental health conditions.
To this end, we look forward to the constitution of the Mental Health Authority Board to facilitate implementation of the Mental Health Policy and enforce the Mental Health Law through concrete actions such as the inauguration of the long-awaited Mental Health Review Tribunal, Mental Health Visiting Committees, and revival of Mental Health Regional Sub-committees. We believe these will ensure that people’s mental health needs are met, and their rights protected.
The Mental Health Alliance notes with appreciation, GoG’s promise to build two new mental health hospitals – one each to be cited in the middle and northern belt. We also express our gratitude to the Minister for Health for assuring the people of Ghana of Government’s commitment to Universal Health Coverage and resourcing the Mental Health Fund as provided for in the Mental Health Law (Act 846, 2012).
The Mental Health Alliance wishes all persons with mental health conditions, their caregivers and service providers well on this year’s World Mental Health Day celebration. We are hopeful that Government will heed our call to prioritise mental health in Ghana through concrete actions such as constituting the Governing Board of the Mental Health Authority and adequately resourcing mental health care in Ghana.
The Alliance for Mental Health and Development (Mental Health Alliance) is a national network of over 300 CSOs, NGOs, and CBOs engaged in mental health advocacy in Ghana. It has eight regional chapters in the Upper East, Upper West, Northern (Northern, Savannah and North-East), Brong Ahafo (Bono, Bono East and Ahafo), Ashanti, Greater Accra, Volta, Central, and Eastern Regions.0
Peter Badimak YARO
(Executive Director, BasicNeeds-Ghana
National Convenor, Alliance for Mental Health and Development
Source : africaneditors.com/Eric Nii Sackey