More Funding for Mental, Social Care

More Funding for Mental, Social Care More Funding for Mental, Social Care

The government has hiked subsidies for long-term care of chronic mental patients by $40 from $133 per person/month (4 million rials) to $173 (5.2 million rials).

Subsidies for people suffering from mental illness who don’t have a family and are looked after at welfare centers has also been increased to $200 (6 million rials) per month, said Anoushirvan Mohseni Bandpei, head of the State Welfare Organization (SWO).  

The increase in home care benefits is a step forward, yet according to figures from three different provinces, namely Sistan-Baluchestan, Yazd and Shiraz, the monthly cost of care of a mentally challenged  person ranges from $432 to $631, Bandpei said at a press conference at  the Ehsan Mental Health Facility, ISNA reported.

He said the annual funding for Ehsan House, a charitable institute in social care, located in Tehran’s Kahrizak District, will be raised from 45 billion rials ($1.4 million) to 50 billion rials ($1.6 million).

A non-government, non-political and non-profit organization, the institute works for the underprivileged sections. The NGO provides assistance to incapacitated homeless, elderly, mentally and physically challenged people; children with negligent parents or no guardians and women victims of social abuse, among others, with focus on respect to human dignity.

It is also a research center in management and treatment of social care and offers psychotherapy, work therapy, counseling and drugs detoxification.

Bandpei said reforms in social care or the provision of social support services to children or adults in need or at risk, or adults with needs arising from illness, disability, old age or poverty, will receive further impetus in the next five-year economic development plan (2016-21).

“Social care is not usually accounted for in the development plans which are mostly devised by economists. Thus, welfare organizations have no leverage when asking for support from the executive bodies, but the current administration is taking a new approach to social care,” he said.

He also referred to the bill proposed to the Majlis (Parliament) on September 14, to increase support to the disabled. The SWO and Majlis Health Commission are examining and revising the Protecting Persons with Disabilities Bill to ensure that different areas such as welfare, healthcare and financial needs are covered.

 Quality Care

Developing quality of care for the physically challenged is among SWO’s top priority. Care facilities need to be raised to modern standards. “We are ready to help care institutions expand their areas of work. Besides, the SWO will assist new centers which have constructed 50% of the building work, to help finish the projects.”

Preventing disabilities is also an area of focus, he said, adding that the project on early diagnosis of amblyopia has been successfully running for 20 years preventing vision impairment in infants. Yet, preventive strategies need to be expanded to address all types of ailments.

The SWO does not hinder the functioning of charities, but considers them as partners and collaborates with them.

President Hassan Rouhani had earlier said that the best way to help private charities “is by not putting hurdles on their way.”