MENTAL HEALTH : FG admonished to Create an enabling environment through legislation. . Urged to increase budgetry allocation for the Health Sector amongst others….
Written by adebanke adekoya on December 12, 2019
Federal government has been urged to increase budgetry allocation for the health sector, provide condusive working environment, employ more medical personnel, and provide functional equipments.
These are some of the solutions proffered by the President, Nigeria Medical Association NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile at the annual symposium and Award ceremony organized by Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN, at Ikeja Lagos.
In a lecture titled “Curbing the high rate of Brain Drain in the Nigerian Health Sector”, Dr. Faduyile noted that low basic infrastructure, inadequate medical doctors and poor renumeration were some of the reasons some medical doctors migrate to the developed countries.
Dr. Faduyile who stated that insecurity and disharmony among the medical practitioners also contributed to brain drain, urged journalists to investigate issues, be factual in their reportage and publish stories that would unite health workers and not promote reports that would divide Medical practitioners.
” Journalists have a big role to play in ensuring harmonious relationship among the medical personnel, the Doctors, Pharmacists, Lab Technician and others”
“If PSN briefs you on issues affecting medical doctors, try to investigate it to allow balance reportage. Journalists contributed to the disharmony between the Doctors and other medical workers. Because some publishers want to sell their papers so they put some catchy and misleading headlines”
” Please, try to always balance your report by doing a little research to understand issues raised by a particular group so that you can address issues from point of knowledge”
Dr. Faduyile explained that if brain drain continued unchecked, it would lead to the collapse of the nation’s health sector, adding that for Nigeria to be able to curb brain drain all hands must be on deck.
” Government is not interested in the health sector, not interested in employing more Doctors, not interested in the welfare of the Doctors”
“Doctors are not well paid, shortage of manpower and government unwillingness to employ more Doctors made Doctors overworked themselves in an environment not conducive for them”
“This explains why many Doctors became frustrated” “They have the expertise but no equipment to function effectively” “Insecurity is another big issue why many of the doctors migrate to other countries”
” For Nigeria to curb brain drain in Nigeria, everyone has a role to play”
In his opening remark, the former president, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria AGPMPN, Dr. Anthony Omolola said with the deteriorating state of many Government hospitals, there was need for the federal government to declare a state of emergency in the health sector.
“The salary is poor, no electricity, no equipment to work with, nothing is absolutely working in government hospitals.
“With the situation of things the federal government needs to declare a state of emergency in the health sector”
In another lecture, titled “Mental well-being : Creating an enabling environment through legislation” the President, Association of Psychiatrists, Dr. Taiwo Lateef-Sheikh, pointed out that millions of people died from suicide related deaths worldwide every year and Nigeria ranked top on the suicide prone Countries.
He identified poor Mental health care, depression, stress, financial loss, terminal illness, academic failure, cyber bullying and social pressure as some major leading causes of suicide in the country.
“The moment some thinks ending his life is the solution to his problem, it means something is wrong, and such person needs help immediately”
“There should be some suicide prevention intervention program that could help victims, have access to prompt free treatment right from inside the ambulance before the victim arrives the hospital”
Dr. Lateef-Sheihk who stated that the rate of suicide among Nigerian Youths is a cause of concern to stakeholders, explained that The Lunacy Act should be reviewed from catching and punishing any one that attempts suicide, to having a Nigerian law that would provide for Mental health care services, accessible and affordable for all.
“Nigeria has no national law on mental health, the Lunacy Act being used dates back to 1916 when there were no treatments for mental illnesses”
“What the country has is regional law; a review of the current State laws using the World Health Organisation’s guideline for mental legislation shows that it lacks focus on human rights and non-discrimination, access to services and least restrictive treatment alternatives.”
” Its definitions are largely inadequate in terms of humaneness and scope; as it continues to employ denigrating terms such as ‘lunatic’, ‘idiot’ and ‘unsound’ mind, while directing properties of patients to be sold off for their treatment”
“The current law has been unable to adequately provide for mental health care on equal footing with physical health. It gives no attention to mental health care financing or access to such services within primary care settings”
High point of the event was the presentation of awards to medical practitioners who have contributed to the advancement of the health sector, some of whom were Dr. Francis Faduyile and the Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH.