…says we are ready to handle drug abuse, mental health in the North
Ben Agande – Kaduna
The Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Kaduna, Professor AbdulKareem Jika Yusuf, has warned that drug abuse and suicide were on the increase, adding however that the hospital has the capacity to address issues of drug abuse and other mental health challenges in the northern part of the country.
Addressing journalists in Kaduna in the wake of recent discoveries of crude and unaccredited rehabilitation centres in Kaduna and Katsina states, the Managing Director said the health centre was ready to collaborate with governors of the states in the region to address the prevalence of drug abuse in the region.
The MD said “it may interest you to know that we have a modern drug rehabilitation program which carter for people that need such treatment. We have 11 consultants psychiatrist that will be able to offer services to such people. So, it is not something new to us. It is not every one of them that will require admission, some will get well and return home.
“We have more than 100 nurses, we have social workers, we have psychologists and all the support staff that are required for the treatment of people with drugs use, we have them in this hospital. And this hospital is ever ready, that’s why it’s established by the government to provide care for people with drug abuse and addiction problems, with other people with other psychiatric problems.
“One of the saddest things is that government accord low priority towards the health services. Government alone can not do it, other people have to come into it, philanthropists have to come to it because what is required is more than what the government can provide. Everyday the rate of suicide, drug abuse is increasing, as such we need to be very proactive to tackle these problems. And that will require a sectoral collaboration.
Professor Yusuf assured that the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital has the capacity to liaise with governments of the states in the zone to address the issue of drug abuse and mental cases.
“We have been attending to patients and whoever comes to the hospital will be attended to and the hospital is ever ready to provide services that it has been providing. Our core mandate is services, teaching, and research. And we will continue to do that.
“But I want to believe that if they approach this center, we are ever ready to attend to the patients in an acceptable way without any discrimination of either gender, religion or any other way. We are ever ready to offer services to whoever comes to us.
“I can assure you that we treat people in a convenient way as it is obtainable all over the world. Admission here is voluntary, our patients may decide to terminate at any time or request for discharge against medical advise.
“The truth is that people have the right to refuse treatment and they have freedom of choice of what they want. If anyone comes to this hospital we will welcome him and our doors are widely open. But we can not go and drag somebody to be admitted into our hospital” he noted.
While calling on the governments in the zone to accord priority to the health sector, the Managing Director called for the expansion of infrastructure in the hospital to allow it to have more space to accommodate more patients.
“You can not identify just one cause to mental illness, but various sickness has their own causes. Raising from generic and social factors, economic factor and environmental Factors. So, it depends on the type of case we are talking about. For instance, if we look at the issue of drug addiction which is the main topic of the day. Its a very serious problem and a menace in the country. Especially in the northwestern part of the country and is affecting a lot of families.
“The cause of drug abuse or addiction is multifactorial, ranging from genetics, family issues, unemployment, and so many factors. So you can see that it is everybody’s business, it’s not just the government’s business or only the hospital’s business. It’s something that requires multi-sectoral collaboration which include community leaders, religious leaders, organizations and hospitals in order to tackle this menace” he noted.