Epistemic Discontinuities and Mental Healthcare in Africa: Ghana

Mental health care in Ghana, like many African countries, has a treatment gap of over 80%. In 2012, the Ghanaian Parliament approved a Mental Health Bill aimed at improving mental health care and protecting persons with mental disorder from abuse. The results so far achieved have been a reduction of the treatment gap from 98% to an estimated less than 90% in 5 years. Analysts agree, however, that these achievements are below expectation. Lack of adequate funding is the main reason often given for the under performance of the reform. Whilst this is true, there are more fundamental questions regarding a biomedical approach to mental health that contrasts with the epistemic framework of a large part of the population. These questions revolve around the metaphysical conception of the human person in her autonomy and her vertical and horizontal relationships; spiritual and communitarian. Caesar will explore the normative challenges in the existing parallel models of mental health care and propose a framework of inclusion.

Dr Caesar Atuire is a Lecturer at the Department of Philosophy and Classics, in the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the MEMATIC programme of the University of Rome, Tor Vergata. A 2018 AfOx Visiting Fellow, Caesar is collaborating on the NeuroGenE project alongside NEUROSEC team members in the Department of Psychiatry. His publications cover ethics, politics, metaphysics and religion. Caesar is also involved in NGO work that delivers health care to remote communities in Ghana.