The necessity has been underscored for up-scaling of non-drug therapeutic services in mental health in Ghana.
A Board Member of the of the Marshallan Relief and Development Services (MAREDES), Badimak Peter Yaro who made the call intimated that the country’s mental health care which is “overly medialised, specialised and centralized” could be further improved by increasing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Mr. Yaro was speaking at Caritas Ghana’s National Seminar on “Ensure No One Is Left Behind” at Wa in the Upper West Region.
The two-day event was meant to promote greater inclusiveness and equity in Ghana’s implementation and accounting for the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).
Mr. Yaro indicated that inadequate psychiatric facilities in the country, has given prayer camps and traditional healer services a field day in handling mental cases.
He pointed out that by policy mental health care services are free but out of pocket payments are common.
Mr. Yaro announced that less than 10 per cent of health budget is allocated to mental health, with the available allocation going to mainly the psychiatric hospitals and personal emoluments of the workers.
He regretted that mental health is still not very much integrated into general care and called for treatment to be provided at the primary health care level.
The Vice rector of St. Victor’s Major Seminary-Tamale, Very Rev. Fr. Daniel F. Saaka observed that as Ghana continues the implementation of the SDGs and her Social Protection Policy, the call for solidarity with the poor, is very significant.
He pointed out that it is incumbent on the Church to partner the State for the implementation of the SDGs and the social protection policies.
Fr. Saaka emphasised that “the Church is ready to assist the government in this direction”.
He continued that the Church Charities must position and present themselves to the state as sincere and credible partners in the implementation of pro-poor policies and create opportunities for young people to find their feet.
Fr. Saaka said youth should be re-oriented to see “farming as the New Gold Mine of our country” to ensure food security.
The Catholic Bishop of Wa, Most Rev. Richard Kuuie Baawobr welcoming the participants, praised Caritas Ghana for choosing Upper West Region for the seminar.
Bishop Baawobr said the event will go a long way to fulfil the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development in health and education.
The Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba in speech delivered for her said efforts are being made to increase the participation of women in political participation.
He stated that affirmative action bill is also being pushed to promote gender equity.
The Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana, Samuel Zan Akologo said the lately, incidences of defilement of minors and disruptions to the school feeding program in some very poor communities are quite worrying adding that they are signs of a weakening system of protection for the vulnerable.
He said “we need to push for demonstrable commitment by public policy actors and architects of national development plans. It is no longer acceptable that the weak, poor, marginalized and vulnerable in society are an after-thought of planned policies and development programs, similar to the Program of Actions to Mitigate the Social Cost of Adjustment (PAMSCAD) of the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) of the 1980s and 90s”.
MR. Akolgo stated that “let us be inspired by the example of Pope Francis who constantly keeps his gaze on the poor and steps out to a friendly encounter with them”.
Touching on Pope Francis’ declaration of November 19, 2017 as the World Day of the Poor, the first of which will be celebrated this year, Mr. Akologo quotes the Pope as saying, “If we want to help change history and promote real development, we need to hear the cry of the poor and commit ourselves to ending their marginalization”.
The principle of ?Ensure No One is Left Behind” is a conscious policy and programming direction that aims to reach first those furthest behind or at the periphery of society.