ABEOKUTA – The Provost and Medical Director, Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Dr. Paul Agboola has said the hospital lacked adequate bed spaces to admit new mental health patients.
The Medical Director who said over 60 percent of the patients at the hospital are suffering from drug abuse disorder, said the management has built additional two new wards to accommodate more patients.
Dr. Agboola stated this on Tuesday at a press conference and lecture to commemorate this year’s World Mental Day held at the hospital premises, Aro, Abeokuta.
Speaking on the theme: “Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority”, Dr. Agboola who highlighted some of the causes of mental health challenges, said poverty, extreme stress, drug abuse, historical background, denial, and ignorance were some of the predisposing factors that could influence mental illness in people.
He emphasized that, the global pandemic and economic instability has taken a great toll on mental health, saying one of eight people are living with mental disorders.
He noted that 75 percent of people with mental health illness have no access to care, stressing that 60million of Nigeria population have one or more form of mental health challenges with less than 300 psychiatric nurses and doctors for over 200million people in the country.
Speaking on the mad rush of Nigerian health workers migration to Europe, Dr. Agboola said until the federal government strengthens the value of local currency and provides an enabling environment for her health workers, the nation would continue to lose her medical practitioners.
He stressed that over 15 nurses of the hospital have tendered voluntary resignation letter to seek greener pastures in Abroad in the last nine months.
“Over 15 of our nurses have tendered letter of voluntary resignation because what they need is to build their CV of working in Aro. These migration will continue for the next 15 years, as the world population increases, advanced countries are looking for cheap labours, which is like modern slavery.
“75% of people with mental health needs have no access to care, out of over 200 million people in Nigeria, 60 million and above have one or more form of mental health challenges currently or in the past. This is roughly over 25% of the population. In addition, Nigeria has less than 300 psychiatrists to over 200 million population.
“The number of nurses are low and even the few once are migrating which is creating serious problem. The government of the day needs to urgently address the massive hemorrhagic brain drain of health care professionals in our Nation.
“The hospital has just built two new wards for drug abuse-related patients. Drug abuse can be ranked on the same pedestal with COVID-19. It is practically impossible to prevent migration, however, enabling environment and strengthening of the value of our local currency may dissuade people from emigrating.
“I can tell you that, we have over 40percent increase in the prevalence of people with mental health illness compared to 2020 statistics. You can’t prevent emigration, the solution is that the federal government should strengthen the value of our currency.”
Dr. Agboola, therefore, commended the federal government for investing billions of naira across tertiary hospitals to upgrade healthcare facilities in the country.