Liberia: Rep. Edward Karfiah Submits Bill Soliciting Funding to Combat Mental Health, Tuberculosis and Diabetes￼
CAPITOL HILL, Monrovia – The House’s Joint Committee on Health, Ways, Means and Finance, and Judiciary has begun reviewing a bill seeking to provide funding for the fight against mental health and diseases such as tuberculosis and diabetes.
The bill, entitled the National Healthcare Fund Act of 2022, was submitted by Rep. Edward Karfiah (District #5, Bong County). When passed, it will authorize the financing of programs and activities geared towards tackling mental health, TB and diabetes.
In a letter accompanying the draft law, and addressed to the House through Speaker Bhofal Chambers, Rep. Karfiah said when endorsed and passed into law, will ensure that revenues generated from excise tax levied on tobacco and alcohol and their related products, including excise tax stamps collections will be used to finance treatment, improve infrastructures, technology and equipment needed to successfully combat these sicknesses. Support will also go toward supporting human resource and benefits of workers dealing with these diseases.
Excerpt: “Distinguished colleagues, considering the challenging nature and or national urgency of our society and the lack of support for people with mental health and these tropical diseases, it is my sincere hope that plenary will swiftly act on this instrument so as to enhance the wellbeing of those living with these conditions; while also safeguarding the Liberian society.”
About one in five Liberians suffer a mild to moderate mental disorder, according to WHO estimates. Yet the country has a couple of few registered psychiatrists and one overcrowded and underfunded mental hospital. As a result, the streets of Monrovia and other major cities are littered with people suffering from some forms of mental illnesses.
Often homeless, they are seen at bus stops, street corners, under the bridges, dumpsite and almost every.
According to the Carter Center, one of the leading mental healthcare service providers, about 40 percent of the population experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This has been hugely blamed on the 14-years civil conflict which claimed the lives of about 250,000 people and the deadly Ebola Virus Disease of 2014.