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Presidency, health minister, others to attend World Mental Health Day symposium


The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole

The third annual World Mental Health Day symposium would hold in Abuja on October 9, at the Ladi Kwali Conference Centre, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.

The conference would be hosted by Novo Health Africa a Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and other partners.

Among those slated to attend the event are officials from the presidency, the Senate and health professionals from different sectors.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, would deliver a keynote address at the symposium.


According to Adewole, there was a 59 per cent increase in 2016, in the demand for mental health services at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba.

He said: “Considering also that most of us spend a huge percentage of our time at work than anywhere else, the importance of the work environment to the general wellbeing of the employee, the employer and the organisation can neither be over emphasised nor ignored.

“Scientific research shows that mental illness is the leading cause of sickness absence at work. A staggering 70 million workdays are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year.

“Understanding how the world works and with the environment we are in, it is safe to say this reflects the situation here in Nigeria.”

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Novo Health Africa, Dr. Dorothy Jeff-Nnamani, commended the Senate for its commitment to mental health.

He cited its motion on ‘Need to ensure affordable and accessible mental health care for Nigerians’ which it passed in recognition of the rising spate of suicides and suicide attempts.

She also commended Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Primary Health Services, Mao Ohuabunwa for their support in creating awareness and mobilising in support of mental health.

The symposium would feature a veritable team of experts from financial, medical, psychological and international spheres, to give a wholesome perspective to the theme.

Other dignitaries and stakeholders are also scheduled to address the public concerns on policies, legislations, access to care and real life cases of coping with mental ill-health in our society.

The speakers and panelists are the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina, Chairman, Senate Committee on Primary Health Care, Ohuanbuwa, Registrar, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria), Prof. Owoidoho Udofia, Professor of Psychiatry and Director, WHO Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, University of Ibadan), Prof Guruje Oye, and former Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Akin Osibogun.

Others are the Acting Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Attahiru Ibrahim, Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Consultant Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, Acting Head of Department, Administration, National Bureau of Statistics, Mr. Wole Musugu and a Record Label Executive, Mr. Tunji “Teebillz” Balogun

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