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WHO laments inadequate mental health response


World Health Organisation (WHO)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Manager in the North East, Dr. Collins Owili, has said that systems were yet to respond adequately to the mental ill-health burden, despite global concerns.

Owili raised the alarm yesterday while launching the first mental health strategic framework implementation plan at Musa Usman Secretariat Complex, Maiduguri, Borno State.

According to him, the gap between the need for treatment and its provision is wide all over the world.


“Between 76 per cent and 85 per cent of people with severe mental health disorders receive no treatment in low and middle income countries,” he said, putting the corresponding range for developed countries between 35 per cent and 50 per cent.

He noted poor quality care for those receiving treatment in conflict-affected countries as a complex issue.

The 65th World Health Assembly adopted Resolution WHA65-4 on the global burden of mental disorders, for a comprehensive coordinated response from health and social sectors.

He added, “The 66th World Health Assembly in May 2013, having considered the report by the Secretariat on the draft comprehensive action plan 2013-2020, adopted the action plan.”

Thirty-five countries and international organisations recently attended the international conference on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS) at Queen Maxima Hall of the KIT Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, from October 7 to 9, 2019.

The Federal Government shunned an invitation to attend the conference.

Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Maiduguri, Dr. Ibrahim Wakawa, has said that at least 50 million Nigerians suffer mental disorders.

Wakawa made the claim yesterday at the unveiling of Borno State Government Mental Health Strategic Implementation Plan in Maiduguri.

Represented by Dr. Ibrahim Mshelia, a mental health consultant at the hospital, the CMD attributed the country’s high burden of mental disorder to the insurgency, lack of awareness and health facilities to handle such cases.

Studies, he claimed, show that one among four Nigerians suffers from mental or psycho-social, traumatic health problems.

He explained that the hospital was serving about 30 million people in the North East and other regions in the country.

“At least 60 per cent of people attending primary healthcare have a mental disorder. Effective treatment and management of mental health can be delivered in primary healthcare,” Wakawa added.


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