2019 Budget: Give Mental Health Some Attention ― Dr Akwasi Osei
Ahead of the Budget reading scheduled for tomorrow, November 15, 2018, the Mental Health Authority (MHA) is asking that a beam of light be thrown towards the health sector―specifically on mental health.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the MHA, Dr. Akwasi Osei, the authority has for a long time been neglected by government.
“What has been in the past is that we have not had the opportunity of getting the resources that we require. This time around, we are trusting that adequate resources will be given to the Ministry of Health and then we will also be given a sizable portion that will enable us begin to carry out our functions, “he told the PUBLISHER.
When asked how much his institution had been allocated in the last budget, Dr. Osei replied; “Frankly, it was like we didn’t have any releases at all.”
In order to mitigate the financial challenges that the authority has grabbled with over the years, the CEO is calling for a Mental Care Levy to be instituted.
Article 88 of the Mental Health Act, 2012 (Act 846) highlights that the Minister responsible for Finance shall prescribe the appropriate levy or taxation for mental health care funding through Parliament.
Dr. Osei said; “We have a lot of deficits―infrastructurally, logistically, financially and we so what we have said is let the government establish a separate funding mechanism that will be in the form of a levy by which everybody by what you are doing, will be able to contribute something.
Dr. Osei continued: “We are not saying a new tax should be put in place. We already have some tax systems on so, the government can take a portion of existing taxes.”
Petroleum, Telcos and Sin Tax are among the few taxes that resources could be garnered from, he suggested.
But before a levy can be instituted, Dr. Osei said the Legislative Instrument (LI) for the mental health bill must be passed.
He noted that though the Authority was handicapped in many areas, the challenges will remain pending until the level is established.
Dr. Osei also called for an expedient set up of a Mental Health Board which has been nonexistent for the past two years.
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ firstname.lastname@example.org