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Mental health facilities increase charges due to rising cost



Pantang, psychiatric hospital, Newscenta, mental healthcare, Mental Health Authority,
Psychiatric hospitals in Ghana. Photo: Pantang psychiatric hospital

The cost of mental healthcare in the country has gone up with fears among stakeholders that the situation can undermine accessibility and worsen the conditions of needy persons with mental health disorders.

Investigations by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) have revealed that some mental health facilities have reviewed their service charges upwards to sustain operations amid limited funds and dwindling donor support.

The National Health Insurance Scheme, intended to facilitate free treatment of persons with mental health conditions as mandated by the Mental Health Act, 2012, is not accepted by many facilities.

Such facilities, the GNA gathered, are compelled to pass on some cost of operation to patients or risk shutting down.

According to the Mental Health Authority (MHA), public mental facilities had received limited funds- “peanuts” – from the Government to operate since the year started, making it difficult for them to provide free treatment.


The Authority said some of the facilities had been saddled with debts and had been taken to court by their suppliers.

The MHA said the situation may get worse until the country established a Mental Health Levy to ensure sustainable funding for mental healthcare.

The BasicNeeds Ghana, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to mental health advocacy, has also called for the mainstreaming of mental healthcare into the general primary healthcare system to ensure that persons with mental health conditions could visit public hospitals for treatment.

Cost of treatment up

At the Accra Psychiatric Hospital for instance, the cost of consultation and hospital card, has increased from GH₵60 to GH₵100.


A one-month admission fee has also increased from GH₵1,500 to GH₵2,500.

When GNA News Team visited the Facility on Friday, September 30, 2022, it (Team)was told that the Hospital was not accepting the NHIS card.

The Team was told that aside consultancy and admission fee that had gone up, the cost of all other tests, including blood and sugar level, were to be taken care of by patients.

A source at the Hospital said they (patients) were also to pay for medications because the Facility was not accepting national health insurance.

“Things have changed, and we are suffering. My brother is not well but I can’t bring him here regularly because now, the services are very expensive. We can’t afford it…,” Nana Ama, a middle-aged trader, told the Ghana News Agency.


A staff of the Hospital said, “some people leave without accessing care when informed about the increase in cost of service delivery.”

What the law says

In 2012, Ghana passed a new Mental Health Act intended to create a new system of mental healthcare in the country.

Under the law, mental healthcare is supposed to be free.

Section 88(2) of the Act states: “A person suffering from a mental disorder with a physical condition is entitled to free health care under the National Health Insurance Scheme.”


The law also establishes the Mental Health Fund to provide financial resources for the care and management of persons suffering from mental disorders but a decade after the passage of the Act, the Fund is not operational.

Stakeholders worried

In an interview, Professor Akwasi Osei, Chief Executive Officer, MHA, said mental health facilities were compelled to pass on the cost of treatment to patients because they lacked funding.

He said the establishment of the Mental Health Levy was the surest way to address the funding gap.

“Until the Mental Health Levy is established, and we don’t have money to support them (mental health facilities), this is what is going to happen,” Prof. Osei said.


Mr Peter Yaro Badimak, Executive Director, BasicNeeds Ghana, said the Mental Health Fund, established under the Mental Health Act, “only exists by name.”

He said the cost of mental healthcare has gone up because “virtually nothing goes to the mental health sector despite government policy that treatment is free of charge.”

“Those who cannot afford and have mental challenge, will live with it unfortunately, and their conditions could go worse,” Mr Badimak said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 10% of the population of Ghana (30.8 million) has one form of mental disorder or the other.

Access to quality healthcare (physical and mental health) is a fundamental human right as enshrined in WHO’s Constitution, adopted by member countries.


“The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition,” says the preamble of the Constitution.

Mental health was included in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015.

The WHO recognises mental health as key to achieving social inclusion and equity, universal health coverage, access to justice and human rights, and sustainable economic development.





Measles, Polio and other childhood vaccines dispatched to regions



Childhood vaccines, Newscenta, Polio, Measles, Ministry of Health, Regions,

The Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) have received the first consignment of Measles vaccines, Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccines and Oral Polio Vaccines.

The Ministry of Information in a statement said distribution to various regions and facilities was underway.

It noted that more vaccines are expected in Ghana in the coming weeks from multiple sources.

“More vaccines expected in Ghana in the coming weeks from multiple sources,” the Information Ministry added.

It shared pictures of the GHS receiving the vaccines at the airport noting that they have already begun distributing them to various regions and facilities.


The ministry also shared photos of regional cold vans picking their consignments of the Measles, BCG and Oral Polio vaccines received and its accompanying logistics at the National Cold Room in Accra.

Ghana ran out of essential BCG and OPV vaccines as a result of the Ministry of Health’s failure to secure procurement of these vaccines since the year began.

The BCG vaccine is primarily needed to prevent the occurrence of tuberculosis in babies, while the OPV is to prevent polio infections

Other essential vaccines to prevent diseases such as measles, whooping cough, etc. are also in short supply.

Answering to parliament on the shortages, Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman Manu said that more than $6 million has been paid to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to deliver baby vaccines.


According to him, the government expects the shortage to end in the next three weeks when all the vaccines are delivered.

Whilst urging the Legislators to approve funds needed for vaccines, he assured that shortages will not reoccur

“The assurance I will give and I can give for the first time in the Chamber is that this will not happen again and I will advise that you help me in my advocacy to get adequate funding for vaccines even the health insurance budget,” he appealed.

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No measles deaths in 20yrs, vaccines arriving soon  



Vaccines, Newscenta, measles, BCG, polio, immunisation,

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has assured parents of children who are yet to receive their scheduled vaccines due to the vaccine shortage currently being experienced in the country that the country will take delivery of these vaccines in the next few weeks.

He gave this assurance at an emergency press briefing organised to address the raging issue which has seen many worried parents moving from facility to facility in a desperate search for the crucial vaccines.

The Minister in his address stated that the nation is currently facing a shortage of some vaccines.

He said, “it is true we have had some vaccine shortages in the country since the last quarter of 2022. The vaccines in short supply are BCG, Measles-Rubella (MR), and Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV). This shortage is nationwide.”

Agyemang-Manu however assured that  “the Ministry of Health has been making efforts to ensure we secure adequate stocks of vaccines despite this global challenge.”


He went further to state that, “we have made all necessary efforts to ensure that despite these challenges we secure adequate stocks within the next few weeks.”

He disclosed that the country has not recorded deaths caused by measles outbreak in parts of the country.

The Health Minister indicated that there had been no recorded measles-related deaths in the country in the last 20 years, even though there have been sporadic outbreaks.

He further indicated that besides the shortage of vaccines, there had been a global decline in vaccinations with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019.

He said, “the recent shortage in vaccines for measles, as regrettable as it is, is symptomatic of the steady global decline in measles vaccination since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.”


Agyemang-Manu however assures the citizenry that the nation’s vaccination coverage remains robust, with immunization performance coverage being among the best in the world.

According to him, “in 2021 we recorded 95% [vaccine] coverage.”

In recent months there has been a desperate scramble among worried parents of toddlers over the apparent shortage of vaccines for the six childhood killer diseases in the nation’s pharmacies and hospitals.

This coupled with an outbreak of the measles-rubella virus has left parents worrying about the safety of their children.


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Ghana: Zipline delivers 14.8m lifesaving medical products



Zipline, drones, Newscenta, 14.8m deliveries, 2022, medical products,

Zipline, the world’s first and only national-scale drone delivery service has delivered some 14.8 million (14,809,463) units of lifesaving medical, vaccines and blood products to health facilities in Ghana as at the end of 2022

309,000 delivery flights

These items were delivered through 309,000 separate delivery flights.

4.4m units delivered

The total units delivered amounted to 4.4 million.


8.3m doses of childhood vaccines

Childhood vaccines top the list with the delivery of 8.3 million doses.

2.05m doses of COVID-19 vaccines

It is followed by COVID-19 vaccines which recorded 2.05 million doses.

48,588 doses of malaria vaccines


The company delivered 48,588 doses of malaria vaccines during the period

10,875 pints of blood

Some 10,875 blood units were also delivered during the period.

Zipline, drones, Newscenta, 14.8m deliveries, 2022, medical products,

6 Zipline distribution centers

The six  Zipline distribution centers delivers lifesaving medical, vaccines and blood products to over 2,500 health facilities.


Zipline introduced in April 2019

Ghana integrated Zipline’s medical drone delivery service into its health supply chain in April 2019 with an initial support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UPS Foundation and other partners.

Instant access to health commodities

Zipline enables instant access to hundreds of health commodities for thousands of health facilities across the country.

Autonomous drones


This marked the first time in history that autonomous drones have been used to make regular long-range deliveries into densely populated urban areas.

Zipline reaches half the population

Zipline’s current network in Ghana can reach up to half the population.

Life-saving care

All too often, people requiring life-saving care do not get the medicine they need when they need it.


Reduce medical waste

To increase access and reduce medical waste, key stock of blood products, vaccines, and life-saving medications are stored at Zipline’s base for just-in-time delivery.

Health workers place orders

Health workers place orders by text message or call and promptly receive their deliveries in 30 minutes on average.

Drones deliver the orders


The drones take off from and land at Zipline’s base, requiring no additional infrastructure or manpower at the clinics they serve.

Each drone can carry 1.8 kilos of cargo

The drones fly autonomously and can carry 1.8 kilos of cargo, cruising at 110km an hour, and have a round trip range of 160km—even in high-speed winds and rain.

How Zipline works

Each week, a single Zipline distribution centre – a combination of medical fulfilment warehouse and drone airport – is capable of the on-demand delivery of more than two tonnes of temperature-controlled medicine to any point across an almost 8,000 square mile service area.


Zipline, drones, Newscenta, 14.8m deliveries, 2022, medical products,

30 to 45 minutes deliveries

Each aircraft can fly 100 miles round trip, in strong winds and rain, day or night, to make on-demand deliveries in 30 to 45 minutes on average.

Zipline’s drones have flown more than five million autonomous miles to deliver more than 1.5 million doses of vaccines, units of blood, and critical and life-saving medications to more than a thousand health facilities serving more than 25 million people across three countries.

Zipline in United States

In the United States, Zipline has partnered with a leading healthcare system, Novant Health, on the country’s first drone logistics operation by a hospital system for pandemic response.


To date, Novant Health has utilised Zipline to make contactless drone distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline medical teams around Charlotte, North Carolina.

Zipline operating in Kaduna and Cross River States in Nigeria

Zipline recently commenced medical delivery services in Kaduna and Cross River States in Nigeria as its footprint grows across Africa.

Set to begin commercial operations in Côte D’Ivoire and Kenya

The company is set to begin commercial operations in Côte D’Ivoire and Kenya this week bringing to five countries in Africa to have adopted the technology.






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