October 10, 2020

Mental Health Day: Psychiatrists decry poor funding, inadequate manpower

Mental health

By Davies Iheamnachor – Port Harcourt

Mental Health professionals have lamented poor funding and lack of manpower in the field of medicine.

The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, CMAC, and Consultant Psychiatrist at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH, Prof. Princewill Stanley, decried the poor rate of funding for mental health and shortage of professionals.

Stanley while delivering a lecture to mark the  2020 World Mental  Health Day in Port Harcourt, lamented the lack of policy and legislation for mental health issues and no representation at state and local government levels.

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He said: “The total budget for health in Nigeria is merely about six percent and out of it, mental health is given about three percent.  Most of the time, only about thirty percent of the budgetary allocation is released and out of this meager sum, only three percent is allocated to mental health.

“No policy nor clear legislation for mental health issues. Mental health professionals are grossly inadequate. We have less than 700 psychiatrists less than 300 clinical psychiatrists and less than 500 community health officers.”

However, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Professor Henry Ugboma, represented by the Deputy CMAC, Dr. Richard Oko-Jaja, emphasized the need to appreciate the role played by mental health practitioners in various communities, adding that the issue of mental health is a collective responsibility that requires more funding and sensitization.