WHO Hands Over Psychiatric Hospial to Borno
The World Health Organisation (WHO) of UN, has handed over a psychiatric hospital to the Borno state government for treatment of mental disorders.
According to WHO, the hospital was built in 1976 with 48 bed capacity to serve in northeast, Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
While handing over the hospital Thursday in Maiduguri, WHO’s Public Health Officer, Emergency Programme, Northeast, Dr. Henry Okoro-Nwanja disclosed that” “The rate of common mental health disorders has doubled to as much as 20% comparatively; because of violent conflict in the state.
He said violence and loss of loved ones, livelihoods, increasing poverty, discrimination, food insecurity are common in emergencies.
He warned that they can increase the risk of developing mental health conditions.
Continued; he added: “People with severe mental disorders are particularly vulnerable,” noting that most of the affected population in the state would continue to suffer from a wide range of mental disorders even after the emergency and acute trauma phase is over.
He therefore urged the state government to scale up mental health interventions to meet urgent needs.
While lamenting overstretched psychiatric facilities, Dr. Okoro-Nwanja said: “The capacity of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital which serves the entire North East is over stretched in response.
“WHO has been supporting the clinical management and referral of mental health cases from communities and primary healthcare facilities through the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (MhGAP).
He said that under the programme, 225 healthcare workers were trained by the global health agency from 2017 to 2020.
According to him, the training was to integrate mental healthcare into the primary healthcare level with State Psychiatric Hospital as a referral point.
He said this is also to enable trained health workers to commence treatment of patients with mental health disorders.
Besides, he added that 26 selected primary health facilities in 14 Local Government Areas (LGAs) were supported with psychotropic drugs.
“We support mental healthcare outreaches being conducted in health facilities in host communities and IDP camps,” he said; adding that the outreach were rendered by mental health nurses of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital.
He said that in 2019 alone, 24,190 patients were treated for mental health disorders with 405 referrals to the federal psychiatric hospital.
He said the number of those referred dropped; because of what he described as; “increased number of Boko Haram attacks on the roads.
He said with the handover of the reconstructed psychiatric hospital and restoration of healthcare services, access to mental health services will be enhanced.
While receiving the hospital, the Special Adviser to the Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR), Abdulrahaman Abdulkarim assured that the hospital will be maintained to sustain mental healthcare services to the people.
“Health workers of the hospital should take the challenges of increasing mental disorders, caused by the over a decade long insurgency that claimed 26,000 lives in Borno,” he said.