NGO urges public to show some love and care to the mentally sick



The Adicare Rehabilitation Home, an NGO, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to extend some care and love to the mentally ill to give them sense of belonging and encourage their chances of recovery.

Mrs Veronica Eze, Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, gave the advice during a visit to some mentally ill patients on the streets of Alagbado and Sango Ota areas of Lagos and Ogun, respectively.

Eze urged the public to stop discriminating and neglecting mentally sick people, saying that they are human beings and part of the society.

She noted that caring and loving the mentally sickness patients increase their chances of recovery.

“The mentally sick people need our help and we can extend our care to them in terms of feeding, accommodation, clothing, medication, among others.

“And NGO like ours is readily available to assist in the task. The society can extend its good gesture to psychiatric patients through the NGOs. And what we do is that we care for the psychiatric destitute patients on the streets that do not have home and are helpless.

“Once in a while we go around, give them food, stay with them, clean them up and sometimes we give them clothes and medications.

“Presently, we are building a rehabilitation home where we can keep them. It is actually taking a process because of the financial implications but I am convinced we will get there because it is a mandate we have dedicated to do and am glad doing it.

“Taking on the role of caring for someone with mental illness is a big task and commitment. It can be very emotionally, financially and physically demanding.

“Since funding has been our big challenge. Therefore, we appeal to governments, organisations (both local and international), philanthropists and well-meaning Nigerians to support us,” Eze said.

Eze said the NGO had embarked on awareness campaign to educate the public on the causes, treatment and prevention of mental illness and the need to give necessary care that could aid their recovery/normal functionality.

“Unfortunately, there is this general belief that most mentally sick patients were the cause of their predicaments and as a result should be abandoned to suffer it.

“I believe that mental illness just like every other sickness is curable and can befall anyone.

“Every average human being is prone to mental problem because looking at Nigeria presently, almost everybody, every home is faced with one psychiatric condition or the other, even though it is not yet a full-blown one, but over time it can surface, it’s a time bomb.

She said that the mission of the NGO was to bridge the gap between people with mental illness and the rest of the society through a support system that aimed to correct their mental condition and integrate them fully into the society.

“I feel that the mentally sick people on the streets need our care, love and support because they do not bargain for their condition. The economic situation in the country can push people to do what they may not want to do.

“Yes, drug abuse can cause mental problem, what matters is the condition prompted the drug abuse.

“Let’s put hands together and collectively care for these people, even though you cannot take care of their medical needs, you can assist with at least foods for them to eat at a particular time because these people most often are hungry, if you have something to offer, they will reciprocate and accept you,” she said.

Secretary of the NGO, Emmannuel Eze identified lack of trust as a major obstacle because people sometimes attack the NGO when trying to help the mentally challenged on the street due to misconception that the NGO wanted to use them for rituals.

“To give the mentally sick person you are caring for the best chance of recovery, it is important that you find out how to support him/her, ” he said.


Edited by Wale Ojetimi


Ondo State: 400,000 residents to benefit from health scheme



The state government is also considering procurement of health insurance cover for people with disabilities. This is to ensure universal coverage of the vulnerable in the state,” he stated.

Oyeneyin said that apart from the vulnerable persons, all other residents were expected to pay a premium for their health insurance under the ODCHS.

We promise that these packages for the formal and informal sectors will be robust and affordable to ensure we grow the coverage every year till we have universal health coverage in the state.

Our health insurance policies will run for one year and cover the principal enrollee, a spouse and 4 children.

The hospitals to be accredited and put forward as providers of the scheme shall be both public and private hospitals found suitable in all the 18 local government areas of the state,” he said.

Oyeneyin urged the governments, citizens and donors to contribute to the scheme, which in his words: ”health insurance is the most effective and evidence-based contributory mechanism for health across the world”.

He called on well-meaning individuals and bodies to procure health insurance plans for their aged parents, family members and friends, adding that churches and mosques should also do it for their indigent members.

Edited by: Victor Asije/Yemi Idris-Aduloju

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Use National Health Act to fast track UHC, Anthropologist tells FG



Mrs. Abieyuwa Abel, a Social Anthropologist, has called on the Federal Government to use the National Health Act (NHA), 2014, to fast track Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.

Abel made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , on Wednesday in Abuja.

She was speaking ahead of the commemoration of International Day of UHC, slated for Dec. 12.

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.

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.

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

The social anthropologist said that the NHA was a viable framework, the implementation of which could help the country and its people achieve UHC.

This Act sets the background to earmark adequate public resources to health towards strengthening primary health care through the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.

Fifty per cent of the fund will be managed by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to ensure access to a minimum package of health services for all Nigerians.

forty-five  per cent of the fund will be deployed to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCA), for primary health-care facility upgrade and maintainable provision of essential drugs, and deployment of human resources to primary health-care facilities.

The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) will manage the remaining five per cent for national health emergency and response to epidemics.

Counterpart funding from state and local governments is at the core of the National Health Act implementation,” she said.

According to her, resource mobilisation and accountability are key factors for successful implementation of the National Health Act.

She said that though there was substantial evidence that public financing was key to the achievement of UHC, government expenditure on health remained had low, with domestic resource mobilisation weak.

Abel said that President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration should creatively and aggressively explore innovative domestic financing despite attendant fiscal constraints.

She said that tax avoidance and inefficient tax collection were the major roadblocks that the President should tackle to improve domestic revenue generation.

The social anthropologist said that sufficient funds could be obtained through taxes on products that pose risk to health such as tobacco and alcohol, and progressive levies on phone calls or mobile phone purchases.

Other sources of income she identified included taxes on air tickets, foreign exchange transactions, and luxury goods.

Abel said that the government could also generate substantial fiscal capacity to fund national health reforms by cutting the country’s enormous budget for fuel subsidies.

Buhari-led government can also ‘assert vision and control’ to mobilise and align resources from domestic and external sources, and ensure efficient use of such resources to increase access to high-quality health care for Nigerians.

The government should implement the 2001 Abuja declaration by allocating at least 15 per cent of its budget to health.

With all of these in place, the government can demonstrate its political will to achieve the 2014 Presidential Summit Declaration on UHC and secure the crucial public support needed for other reforms,” she said.

According to her, government should make health insurance compulsory by facilitating the amendment of the 1999 NHIS Act 35.

Abel said that with full implementation of NHIS, the 36 states of the federation and FCT should create their health insurance agencies with guidance from the NHIS, and implement innovative ways to capture the formal and informal sectors.

She described UHC as a political choice, which required vision, courage, and long-term thinking.

“It is the best investment for a safer, fairer and healthier Nigeria that is needed for people’s health and sustainable development.’’

She said that universal health care could be cheaper if Nigerians had the courage to fight the existing powers and corporations.

Forty-nine of the 50 most developed nations in the world have universal health care.

The one nation where it is not yet a reality is the one we are living in. It can be a reality here only if our government keep to its promise.

NAN recalls that the UHC international day has become the annual rallying point for the growing global movement for Health for All.

The day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage.

Each year, on Dec. 12, UHC advocates raise their voices to share the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health, to call on leaders to make bigger and smarter investments in health, and to remind the world that Health for All is imperative to create the world we want.

Edited by: Bayo Sekoni and Ephraims Sheyin

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NYSC to review collaboration with NHIS on healthcare of corps members



National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has reiterated its determination to review an existing collaboration with National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) on provision of free healthcare services to corps members.

The information is in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, Director, Press and Public Relations of NYSC.

Adeyemi stated that the NYSC Director General, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, made this known  when he received Prof. Mohammed Sambo, the Executive Secretary of NHIS in his office.

She quoted Ibrahim as saying “the collaboration between the two establishments dated back to 2016 at the instance of the Federal Government which directed corps members to enroll in NHIS.”

Ibrahim who restated the scheme’s zero tolerance to night journeys by members, stressed the need for urgent attention to the health needs of corps members.

Sambo then congratulated Ibrahim on his appointment as 18th Chief Executive Officer of NYSC.

He also commended the NYSC management “for its untiring efforts in preventing unqualified persons from participating in the National Youth Service Corps programme with its punitive measures.”

The chief executive promised that NHIS would deploy resources within its reach to ensure that Nigerians accessed quality healthcare.

He added that NHIS would consolidate on its previous achievements and also device new strategies to reach out to oganisations in the country to enroll their employees in the scheme.

Sambo said that the NHIS was also making efforts toward ensuring that Nigerians in the diaspora benefitted from the scheme.

Edited by: Bayo Sekoni/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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FG says tackling global health problems requires global disciplinary cooperation, expertise



The Federal Government says tackling complex global health problems in the country requires interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral expertise and cooperation from agencies outside the health sector.

Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, the Minister for State for Health, stated this on Wednesday at the five-year National One Health Strategic Plan launch in Abuja.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the Nigeria One Health initiative has the vision of creating a nation of healthy people and animals in a balanced ecosystem.

NAN reports that co-launchers of the strategic plan are the Federal Ministry of Health, (FMoH), through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Environment.

Mamora said that most times when there were cholera outbreaks in the country, the public was quick to question the roles of FMoH and NCDC.

According to him, majority of Nigerians are also quick to forget that cholera outbreaks happen due to poor water and sanitation facilities, factors that are not under the direct control of FMoH.

It is therefore critical for us to come together to develop joint preparedness and response plans for the infectious disease outbreaks that affect us.

One Health offers us the opportunity to acknowledge these shared interests, set common goals, and drive towards team work to benefit the overall health of a nation,” he said.

The Minister, however, noted that Nigeria had developed a strategic plan to meet its human, animal and environmental health challenges.

He said the approach would drive innovations that were important to managing outbreaks, as well as offer synergy across various ministries.

Mamora said that the goal of the strategic plan would result in improved communication, evidence-based solutions, improved surveillance, decrease in long time response to outbreaks, and an overall improved economy.

Several factors have enabled the One Health movement in Nigeria, including the strong platform provided by NCDC as the national One Health secretariat.

Today, our disease technical working groups and Rapid Response Teams for yellow fever, Monkeypox, Lassa fever and cholera have representatives from FMoH , Agriculture and Environment.

We must recognise that there may be barriers to implementing this strategy. However, it is up to us all across the three ministries to dedicate the required resources for Nigeria’s One Health strategy implementation,” he advised.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General NCDC, said that the five- year plan would integrate human, animal and environmental health management for improved health security in the country.

Ihekweazu said that the strategic plan, jointly developed by the three ministries, signified a high priority to the One Health approach.

The NCDC boss said that the coordination Unit would be critical to ensuring health security for the country.

He stated that the collaboration would also address the emerging health challenges arising from the animal human interface and attaining the core capacities of International Health Regulations.

Ihekweazu noted that the Plan was a significant document that would ensure the readiness of Nigeria in response to zoonotic disease outbreaks.

He, however, said that NCDC remained fully committed to working with sister agencies and all relevant stakeholders to achieve the Plan.

Dr Dooshima Kwange, a Director and representive from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that one of the challenges the country faced was the spread of infectious diseases.

Kwange said that dealing with such challenges called for a stronger collaboration between human and animal health organisations.

Edited by: Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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LASG to convert Majidun Rehab Centre to psychiatric hospital – Commissioner



The Lagos State Government, on Wednesday, said it was working to make the Majidun Rehabilitation Centre at Ikorodu a full functioning psychiatric hospital.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Olajide Idris, made the disclosure at the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the theme of the AGM was: “Mental Health Promotion; Life Stressors and Mental Health; Coping Skills as a Tool for Safeguarding the Mind.”

Represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Health, Dr Oreoluwa Finnih, Idris stressed the need for the state to have its own functional psychiatric hospital.

He said that establishing more psychiatric hospitals in country would help to improve the practice of psychiatric.

According to him, there exists an urgent need to adopt a Mental Health Policy for state, saying that government is working towards actualising it.

Lack of functional regulations on mental health issues affects psychiatric practice in Nigeria, thereby depriving both the practitioners in the field and people with mental challenges of their rights.

With the existence of mental health law and equipped psychiatric hospitals, all the modalities for treatment and management of the mentally-ill, including access to medical services, the modalities and resources of mental health will be made available,” he said.

Contributing, a Consultant Psychiatrist with Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Dr Olurotimi Coker, urged medical practitioners to develop skills for managing stress in order to avoid depression and burnout syndrome.

According to Coker, Nigerians, particularly medical practitioners, undergo a lot of stress, which can result in depression or even mental disorder, adding that they commit suicide more than other professionals.

Studies show that 35 percent of doctors are experiencing depression and burnout syndrome and one to three physicians die by suicide everyday in the USA due to stress.

To manage and cope with stress, medical practitioners must develop entrepreneurial mindset. They must set realistic goals as they plans to be financially independent before the age of 40.

There is also the need to set limit to workloads, go on vacation and ensure one sleeps at least eight hours in a day. Life is not meant to be taken seriously. So enjoy your life while you can,” Coker said.

Earlier, the President of ARD, Dr Kabirat Kilanse-Oni, urged the state government to ensure provision of basic social amenities to enhance the living standards of residents as a way of easing stress on them.

Kilanse-Oni said that the traffic gridlock and bad roads in Lagos were the major causes of stress and depression among residents of the state.

According to her, the economic hardship in the country is another factor that has made many Nigerians to develop depression, saying that there is increase in the number of mental health cases in the country.

If the government can provide the needed amenities, particularly the road network system, such that limited time will be spend on the road, the productivity and health condition of the residents will improve.

“And this will consequently enhance the economic development of the state and that of the country at large,” Kilanse-Oni said.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq


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