Successful launch of the “Mental Health Funding and the SDGs: What now & who pays?” report in Sierra Leone
Last month, on 21 Jun 2016, the Sierra Leone Deputy Minister of Health officially announced the local launch of the report titled “Mental Health Funding and the SDGs: What now & who pays?” in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The report, which was commissioned by MHIN/WHO and authored by the ODI’s Jessica MacKenzie, highlights current mental health funding partners, funding gaps, and potential new funders that could improve access and quality of mental health services around the world.
Following a highly successful launch event in London on 19 May 2016, Sierra Leone was selected for an international low-income country launch of the report in order to help raise awareness of mental health service gaps and financing needs. The launch event was extremely well attended, with more than 100 key stakeholders in the country present, including three Ministers (Ministers of Health, Social Affairs, and Finances) along with several diplomatic missions, government representatives, and iNGOs. Discussions among the local mental health focal points focused on the urgent need to scale up mental health services in Sierra Leone.
One aim of the event was to increase commitment for prioritisation of mental health interventions in low and middle-income countries, and indeed, the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs stated that she fully supports prioritizing mental health as a crucial issue for the country, while the Minister of Finance announced the Ministry’s commitment to scaling up funding for mental health care in Sierra Leone.
Another success at the event was the first introduction of MHIN Africa to African stakeholders by MHIN/WHO’s Dr Fahmy Hanna. Dr Hanna delivered a presentation outlining MHIN Africa’s purpose and objectives: to give the MHIN network of mental health care stakeholders a more regional focus. The presentation was well received, and we at MHIN Africa look forward to gathering members and momentum in the build-up to our official launch later this year. In the meantime, you can sign up for our mailing list and keep up with us on social media via Facebook and Twitter.
If you missed the launch, catch up through our Storify summary.