NDC used mental health money to buy votes in 2016 - Prof Adei

BY: Graphic.com.gh

A retired educationist and former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Stephen Adei has accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of using money earmaked for mental health to "buy votes" in the 2016 general elections.

Speaking at the launch of a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Friends of Mental Health, in Accra on Monday, Prof Adei alleged that the John Dramana Mahama administration in 2016 never injected a dime into improving mental health care although Parliament had approved a budget for that sector.

Last year government did not release any funds for mental health services, while this year the government has not provided any drugs although GH¢500,000 had been released for the various mental health facilities, according to the Mental Health Authority (MHA).

Although there is also an allocation of GH¢3million for drugs for mental health in the budget for this year, the MHA says drugs were yet to be purchased, a situation which has forced the authority to rely on NGOs and other partners for drugs to sustain mental patients in the country.

In spite of the huge number of persons with mental disorder conditions, mental health continued to be low in the priority of health planners at all levels, especially, the government, Prof. Stephen Adei, who is also a member of the board of trustees of Friends of Mental Health noted at the function.

He said persons with mental disorders were the most vulnerable in the society who needed help.

"We have forgotten that the brain is part of the body and  sometimes gets sick, and yet when you get sick in the brain, we don't consider you as sick, its either you are a witch or be-witched or something like that," he said.

He said persons with mental disorders could hardly do anything about their condition, hence the need for society to show humanity by helping them to recover and expressed worry about the country's inability to effectively assist persons with mental health problems.

"Its quite unfortunate and whenever I see a mentally sick person walking in the streets, sometimes totally naked, do you know whom we are indicting, me and you, from the President
to the young person."

"I couldn't believe that in 2016 not a pesewa of government budget was dedicated to mental health. That is the year, literally millions were spent, legitimately or in bribing people to vote and we didn't spend as a people, a pesewa in helping mentally sick people."

"I believe that there are many things that has to be done, we need roads, we need schools, we need factories and all of them, but nothing will define our humanity as Ghanaians with what we do with the mentally sick," Prof Adei said.