*… says no clear mental health budget
By Providence Adeyinka, LAGOS
The treatment gap in mental health cases has grown to as high as 85 per cent, said President, Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria, APN, Prof. Taiwo Sheikh.
He added that the number of serious cases receiving no treatment during the last one year in developed countries varies from 35.5 per cent to 50.3 percent.
Maymunah disclosed this at the ongoing Vanguard Mental Health Summit in Lagos.
Also, Sheikh said that there is no clearly defined budget allocation for the condition in the national health budget.
He explained that allocation for health amounts to only 3.65 per cent of 2016 budget and about 3.3 per cent of the health budget of the central government goes to mental health, with over 90 per cent of this going to institution-based services provided through eight stand-alone mental hospitals.
He said that there is enormous inequity in the distribution of such health services and available resources.
His words: “The number of serious cases receiving no treatment during the last 12 months in developed countries varies from 35.5% to 50.3%. This treatment gap in Nigeria is as high as 85%. This is referred to as the ‘Mental Health Gap’.
“There is no clearly defined budget allocation for it in the national health budget. Allocation for health amounts to only 3.65% of 2016 budget and about 3.3% of the health budget of the central government goes to it, with over 90 percent of this going to institution-based services provided through eight stand-alone mental hospitals.
“There is enormous inequity in the distribution of such health services and available resources,” he said.
Sheikh who said that the condition is now considered one of the most neglected areas of health where over 70 per cent of patients with the disorder seek unorthodox interventions before orthodox care, pointed out that there are 0.09 psychiatrists, four psychiatric nurses, 0.02 clinical psychologists and 0.02 social workers per 100,000 persons.
He said: “Today; we have about 300 psychiatrist in Nigeria and over 1,000 Nigerian psychiatrists outside Nigeria.
“It has come a long way in Nigeria, but we are yet to achieve systemic change for universal access to effective, qualitative and affordable mental care.
“The signing of a the mental health bill into law is a critical investment in mental health in Nigeria that will guarantee access to effective, compassionate and quality care that we desire.
“It is estimated that 20 to 30 per cent of Nigeria’s population suffers from mental health challenges. Common mental disorders we encounter every day include anxiety, depression, psychosis, substance use disorders, song others,” he said.