The Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), Dr. Kwasi Osei, has revealed that Ghanaians will soon be required to pay a special levy to cater for the needs of mentally challenged people in the society.
According to Dr. Osei, the public would be obligated to pay the levy to the mental health fund to support the battle against mental illness, as well as help make psychiatric hospitals and other mental health centers access the resources needed to treat the patients.
“We are trying to get a mental health levy established. If we had a mental health levy, like a special tax for mental health, then everybody, as they go about their normal duties will be contributing to the fund,” he stated.
He made the statement in an exclusive interview with GhanaWeb in response to the issue of the increasing number of mentally ill patients roaming the streets within the country.
Dr. Osei stated emphatically that they do not have the financial capacity and resources to take victims off the streets adding that the Authority’s major source of support is from the government.
“The main source of funding is from government. The government of Ghana brings us money; that’s the situation, and in recent past we have also had support from the Department for International Development (DFID) to enable us to carry on some of our duties. But the whole of last year we didn’t have any such support and government funding was also limited,” he revealed.
Dr. Osei however stated that the levy would be very little that all class of Ghanaians can afford maintaining that collectively, the taxes would serve the purpose of funding their projects.
“It will be small so you may not feel it but eventually, it will become a huge amount, then we can use it to fund our projects, including collecting patients from the streets and attending to them,” he concluded.