By George Odok
Calabar – The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called for partnership with government at all levels in providing social support including affordable care for Nigerians that are struggling with all forms of mental health challenges.
NMA President, Dr Francis Faduyile, made the call on Tuesday in Calabar during the 2019 Physicians’ Week with the theme “Care of the Unknown Patient: Policy Overview and Review”.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Faduyile’s speech was read at the occasion by Dr Agam Ayuk, NMA Chairman in Cross River.
He explained that the call became necessary considering the alarming rate of suicide in Nigeria.
According to him, the trend has not spared any group including Nigerian doctors and other health professionals.
He maintained that it was the role of NMA to strategise with other stakeholders on facts and myths regarding mental health conditions including depression, their signs and symptoms and how to get basic care.
“NMA hereby call on government at all levels and all stakeholders to partner with us in ensuring relevant social support, including affordable care, for Nigerians that are struggling with all forms of mental health challenges.
“I want to state that it is important for us to continue to strive to improve ourselves for the betterment of the Nigerian populace.
“This year’s theme was chosen based on the identified lacuna in the care of this category of unknown patients especially in respect of police framework.
“The theme was also chosen to bring to fore the issues affecting Nigerians who suddenly found themselves in an unconscious state from traumatic cause, majorly Road Traffic Accident or medical conditions like cardiovascular diseases,” he added.
He further said that any Nigerian could fall into the category of an unknown patient, hence the need for an enduring policy for the care of the unknown patients.
“NMA wishes to bring to the knowledge of the public that the Nigerian government has not deemed it pertinent to accord the desired attention and value to this category of patients, the unknown patients.
“Physicians are making selfless sacrifices to sustain healthcare delivery in the country amidst various challenges including incessant harassment and kidnapping in the line of duty; we need government’s protection,” he said.
Speaking, a former Chief Medical Director of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Prof. Rowland Ndoma-Egba, said the responsibility of any hospital was to provide services to the populace.
Also, Dr Emmanuel Essien, a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Calabar said that suicide has become the second leading cause of death globally.
Essien identified some causes of suicide to include; economic hardship, unemployment, new pressure faced by youths, increasing mental illness and isolation