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NGO urges FG to use UHC for advancement of mental health care

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NGO urges FG to use UHC for advancement of mental health care

The Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI), an NGO, has advised the Federal Government to use Universal Health Coverage (UHC), as a platform


to advance mental health services in the country.

Founder of the NGO, Mr Zion Ameh, made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , on Thursday in Abuja.

He was speaking on the commemoration of International Day of UHC,

NAN reports that on Dec. 12, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) unanimously endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward UHC.

The idea was that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care as an essential priority for international development.

NAN reports that the theme of the 2019 UHC Day is ‘Keep the Promise’

Ameh said that there was an overall shortage of health services in the country and the provision of mental health services was one of the most scarce areas.

There should be a comprehensive review of how mental health service is provided in the country with the urgent passage of the mental health bill.

It is a bill for an Act to provide for the establishment and regulation of mental health and substance abuse services.

It also encompasses protection of persons with mental health needs and the establishment of National Commission for Mental and Substance Abuse services.

It will contribute to effective management of mental health in Nigeria and other related matters,” he said, recalling that the bill was sponsored by Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe.

According to him, a quick transition from policy to implementation is crucial.

He said that policy makers and other relevant agencies have to use all possible mechanisms to accelerate the passage of the bill becase it would strengthen mental health institutes and train workforce through innovations.

Ameh stressed that the problem of insufficient mental health workforce had to be tackled by strengthening existing mental health institutions and increasing trained workforce with attention to equitable distribution.

He said that the gaps could be filled by innovative mechanisms and the use of other ongoing programmes and community-based engagement in the health sector.

Ameh said that another approach could be the use of the country ‘s strength in information and communication technology.

Our telemedicine potential can help to increase access to mental health services in areas with limited availability of mental health workforce.

This is an opportunity to make provision of disability and mental health services integrated at all steps.

As urban health services are being scaled up, Primary Health Centres are being established.

This becomes highly relevant as there is a high prevalence of mental health conditions in urban settings,” he said.

He advised the government to engage communities in delivery of health services, stating that community-based interventions should become acceptable because they were the core approaches to mental health services.

The linkage between all community-based initiatives of different government programmes needs to be harmonised.

Achieving good mental health in the community requires a lot of preventive and promotive health services.

Opportunities provided in the indigenous system of medicines to address mental illnesses and the possible collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Health and the state health ministries must be explored, harmonised, and the experience documented.

That way, the promotion of other services could be useful,” he advised.

According to him, policy prescriptions are of limited use unless translated into actionable and measurable steps.

Ameh said that there was need to develope a detailed mental health implementation plan as proposed in the bill.

There is need for integration with overall mechanisms for non-communicable diseases programme which could be expanded rapidly to all districts of the country, with an approved roadmap within a time frame.

On funding, he called on the government to increase financial allocation and develop mechanisms to prevent people from becoming poor while accessing mental health services.

Globally, devoting one per cent of total health budget by government for mental health services is an acceptable norm and Nigeria falls below this norm.

This fact is a sufficient justification for rapid expansion of mental health services and increase in the government funding.

Both actions will help reduce ‘out of pocket expenditure’ by people and can prevent people from falling into poverty because of health related expenditures,” he advised.

NAN recalls that in 2014, the UN started to observe Dec. 12 as UHC Day to commemorate the date on which the General Assembly officially recognised the importance of UHC.

Edited by: Ephraims Sheyin
(NAN)
(NAN)

Abujah Racheal: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Health

Stakeholders highlight advantages of exclusive breastfeeding

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Health experts and other stakeholders on Monday, urged Nigerian mothers to practise a minimum of six months exclusive breastfeeding of infants to enable them to grow into strong and healthy adults.


The experts made the call in a webinar organised by Alive and Thrive (A&T), an NGO, to commemorate the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2020.

Alive and Thrive is a global nutrition initiative to save lives, prevent illness and ensure healthy growth and development through improved maternal nutrition, breastfeeding and complementary feeding practice.

Dr Victor Ajieroh of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the 2020 world breastfeeding week was remarkable and dwelt on the importance of breastfeeding to the environment.

He said that there was the need for countries to promote exclusive and optimal breastfeeding as a way of protecting the planet.

“It is a great pleasure for the Gates Foundation, working with the government of Nigeria, to support, protect and promote breastfeeding in Nigeria as part of the commemoration of the WBW.

“Two things are remarkable and noteworthy about this year’s celebration. The first is the theme that is connected to sustainable development.

“The COVID-19 pandemic with its associated disruptions and impact on life is another factor that necessitates us to support mothers with the right information on breastfeeding,’’ he said.

Ajieroh said that the present rate of exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria stood at 29 per cent, and expressed optimism that achieving the target of 50 per cent by 2025 was feasible.

Dr Simeon Nanama of UNICEF noted that the 2020 world breastfeeding week came at a time when the world faced the challenges of climate and the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the theme of the 2020 commemoration “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet,’’ was relevant in highlighting those global challenges.

“The theme, “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet’’ is remarkable because it is coming at a time when the world faces two major challenges, climate change and the VOVID-19 pandemic.

“It  shows the important role breastfeeding can play in solving these global challenges .

“It is cheering to note that Nigeria has made steady progress in exclusive breastfeeding, having moved from 17 per cent to 29 per cent in the last few years.

“The 50 per cent target for 2025 is achievable,’’ he said.

The Director of Family Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Salma Anas-Kolo, said that women that exclusively breastfed their children were contributing to a healthy environment.

She said that exclusive breastfeeding of infants for the first six months played a major role in raising a crop of intelligent youths that would provide purposeful leadership in future.

Anas-Kolo called on all women and men to continue to support and promote exclusive breastfeeding through advocacy and sensitisation.

Dr Uche Ralph-Opara of Alive and Thrive said that the organisation had, in the last few years, supported some states in Nigeria through survey to establish the status of exclusive  breastfeeding.

She said that findings showed that many mothers believed that due to hot weather, their infants needed to supplement breast milk with some quantity of water.

“The breast milk contains 80 per cent water, so the infants can get all the water they require at any point in time from breast milk,’’ she said.

The webinar drew participants from the academia, NGOs, government and other stakeholders.

WBW is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding.

It is celebrated between August 1 and August 7 every year in commemoration of the 1990 Innocent Declaration.

In line with this year’s theme of the event, WHO and UNICEF have called on governments to protect and promote women’s access to skilled breastfeeding counseling.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

 

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Eid-el-Kabir -NGO distributes palliatives to FCT residents 

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Rosula Foundation, an NGO, on Friday distributed palliatives to some residents of Lugbe community in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to mark Eid-el-Kabir celebration.


Ms Modupe Olatobosun, Head of the foundation told the News Agency of Nigeria during the distribution that the gesture was to put smile on faces of the needy.

NAN reports that items distributed by the NGO include rice, beans,  semovita, spaghetti amongst others.

Olatobosun said the foundation felt that as Muslims celebrated the Eid-el-Kabir, there could be people that would not have anything to eat, so it decided to reach out to them.

“We can not feed the whole nation but we are giving the little we can to sustain them in this festive period.

“We are also appealing to other well meaning Nigerians to reach out to those who are unable to feed, no matter how little,”she said.

Olatobosun said that so far, the foundation had reached out to 18 communities in the FCT and planned to visit other states soon.

According to her, the foundation has been reaching out to the needy in the society, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic made them more prominent.

She said that the foundation’s gesture  was in three stages – empowerment, education where they give out scholarship and humanitarian services.

Some of the beneficiaries told NAN that they were grateful for the gesture as it would go a long way to ease their suffering.

Mr Samuel Luka, a beneficiary thanked the foundation, noting that efforts to reach out to them on such special day was impressive.

Luka appealed to the government and other Nigerians to do same by reaching out to the poor.

Also, Mrs Helen Eze, another beneficiary  thanked the foundation for reaching out to them as the palliative would assist in feeding her family.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

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Group pledges to support law enforcement agencies in fight against trafficking

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The Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM) has pledged continuous support to the law enforcement agencies in the of fight against human trafficking in the country.


Mr Rafael-Rios Molina, Team leader of A-TIPSOM Nigeria, gave the pledged in a statement on Thursday in Abuja to mark the 2020 International Day for World Human Trafficking Day.

Molina said that the group would support the law enforcement agencies as first responders in the fight against human trafficking, which include the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.

He also said the group would support other agencies like the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Police Force and Civil Society Organisations to intensify the fight against trafficking of women and children.

According to him, human trafficking leaves no country untouched as it affects most parts of the world today particularly women, girls, children and youth, hence the need to give the support.

“This year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons focus is on first responders: law enforcement officers, NGO staff, social workers, advocates, counselors, healthcare professionals among others.

“As COVID-19 pandemic has put the world under enormous strain, affecting the lives of everyone, trafficked persons and first responders are among the most affected group of people.

“It has made the fight against human trafficking more difficult, putting victims at greater risk of exploitation.

“The role of first responders in identifying, supporting, counseling, and seeking justice for victims is paramount in tackling human trafficking especially during this difficult times,” he said.

Molina, however, said that the first responders were great anti-human trafficking soldiers as they were sacrificing a lot to protect the vulnerable.

He therefore, said that there was urgent need to equip and support the people who were at the frontline of fighting the menace.

He also said that there was need to increase and improve their services while they also protect themselves from COVID-19 pandemic.

Molina said that A-TIPSOM, was a project funded by the European Union and implemented by Spanish Public Foundation (FIIAPP) and had been working together with Nigeria.

He added that, the organization was providing support to these government agencies to intensify the fight against trafficking.

The team leader also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has uttered the way the first responders work and that the group has continued to support them with palliatives to assist their work in providing quality services to trafficked persons.

“A-TIPSOM believes that a global problem like trafficking in persons needs a global solution, and first responders need to be equipped.

“For that goal, we will keep working together with key stakeholders and partners to support first responders, and increasing awareness on trafficking in persons,’’ he said.

He called on relevant stakeholders, private sectors, community groups and individuals to work together in the fight against the heinous crime of human trafficking.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 2020 World Human Trafficking Day falls on July 30.

Edited By: Joan Nwagwu/Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Eid el-Kabir: Foundation donates foodstuff to vulnerable persons in Sokoto

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No fewer than 3,000 vulnerable persons received food stuff


and cash donations in Sokoto on Thursday by the Attahiru Bafarawa Foundation, an NGO, for the

Friday  Eid- el-Kabir celebrations.

Also called Eid al-Adha or festival of sacrifice, Eid el-Kabir is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year.

It honors the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ismael, as an act of obedience to God’s command.

The Federal Government has, therefore, declared July 30 and July 31, 2020 for Muslims in the country to join the world in celebrating Eid el-Kabir.

At the launch of the food items/cash distribution in Sokoto, the foundation’s Programme Officer, Alhaji Yusuf Abubakar, said that the items would be given to groups of less privileged persons, remand homes, orphanages and custodian centres.

Abubakar said that the gesture was part of the foundation’s support to vulnerable people “so that they would also celebrate and enjoy the sallah”.

He added that the founder of the organisation, former governor of Sokoto State, considers such act as a social responsibility to cater for the less privileged persons at a time like this.

 He urged other well to do people, as well as those with sufficient means of income to contribute part of their earnings to helping indigent persons.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that items donated include bags of rice, vegetable oil and cash.

Some of the beneficiaries, Malama A’ishatu Adamu, Ruqayyaty Bello, Yusha’u Tangaza and Abubakar Aminu, thanked the foundation for the gesturr.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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