An independent United Nations human rights expert today commended the Government of Ghana on its commitment to realizing the right to health while underscoring key challenges regarding maternal mortality, mental health and adequate funding.
“In order to ensure that current gains related to the right to health are sustained, the Government must develop a strategy to address possible deficits in future funding,” Anand Grover, the Special Rapporteur on the right to health, said in a news release issued in Accra at the end of his first visit to the country.
He urged authorities to ensure that adequate funding and resources are devoted to health, noting that as Ghana transforms into a middle-income country, its eligibility for international funding in critical areas, such as HIV/AIDS, will diminish.
Given that maternal mortality has been declared a national emergency, the expert stressed the need for further concerted efforts, including a range of mechanisms for monitoring and redressing this very serious issue.
On mental health, Mr. Grover lamented the fact that the Mental Health Bill of 2006, which he said would be a significant step toward ensuring the mental health of all Ghanaians, has stalled in Parliament.
“I urge the Government to accelerate deliberation on the Bill and guide its passage through Parliament because there is an urgent need to improve mental health services in Ghana.”
He also cited the need to tackle the substantial human resource constraints that exist within the mental health sector, particularly in nursing.
During his eight-day mission, Mr. Grover met with Government officials and civil society representatives, including non-governmental organizations and academics. He will present a report on his mission to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council in June 2012.