Participants included representatives from the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Protection (MGCSP), Ministry of Health (MoH), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) and the Mental Health Authority of Ghana (MHAG). A consortium of NGOs implementing the project – comprised of BasicNeeds-Ghana, Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG), MIHOSO International Foundation, Centre for People’s Empowerment and Rights Initiatives (CPRI) and NORSAAC – were also represented.
In his opening statement, the Executive Director of BasicNeeds-Ghana, Peter Badimak Yaro, gave a snapshot of the state of community mental health financing. He gave an overview of the state of community-based mental healthcare and approaches that have been suggested to improve the quality of care at the lower levels of mental health service delivery.
Presenting a statement on behalf of the Director-General of GHS, Dr Samuel Kaba of the Institutional Care Department said that GHS was “willing to work with you, the private sector and all well-meaning Ghanaians to develop a seamless health sector with a well-organized emergency referral system from private to public and vice versa without patients suffering any delays or consequences”. He further hinted that “the Ghana health service council has directed that we are not only about service delivery but quality service delivery coupled with excellent customer care.” He concluded his statement by calling on all participants to be open-minded in the exchange of ideas. He stressed that that was the only way to justify the time and resources spent organising the forum.
Dr Emmanuel Odame, speaking on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Health, applauded the BasicNeeds-Ghana, organisers of the forum for its timeliness. He indicated the ministry’s preparedness to seriously consider all proposals for sustainable mental health financing that would be generated at the forum. He stated the Deputy Minister’s express wish to be furnished with a copy of the report from the forum.
This forum is a precursor to a larger forum to discuss in detail sustainable financing options for community-based mental health service delivery which would be held in the coming quarter.