President, Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria, Prof. Taiwo Obindo, says Nigeria currently has one qualified psychiatric doctor to about a million people.
“This development has made accessibility and deliverability of psychiatric care relatively difficult in the country,” Obindo told the News Agency of Nigeria recently in Enugu.
He spoke on the side-lines of the recently held 53rd Annual General and Scientific Meeting of psychiatric doctors in Nigeria.
Obindo said that up to two-third of well-trained and certified psychiatric doctors leave the country annually creating the negative situation at hand.
He said, “The standard is that one psychiatric doctor should take care of 10,000 patients. But today, we have one psychiatric doctor to more than one million Nigerians.
“As we speak now, we are having less than 250 certified psychiatric doctors throughout the country and more are leaving by the day.”
Obindo called for the passage of the National Mental Health Bill as amended to ensure proper process and administration of mental health treatment and other issues such as adequate funding and remuneration of professionals.
“Mental healthcare should be incorporated into the primary healthcare system to cater to primary and secondary institutions treating mental health disorders in localities.
“Presently, the little budget meant for mental health treatment goes to tertiary medical institutions only.
“Mental health should be fully taken care of at Primary Healthcare Centres.
“Percolating mental healthcare to primary healthcare institutions will save Nigerians transportation, feeding and accommodation costs and the stress of conveying mentally-ill persons to urban centres where psychiatric hospitals could be found,” he said.
Obindo, who works at the University of Jos Teaching Hospital, noted that Nigerians entangled in current insecurity and forced displacements had continued to face psychological and psychiatric trauma and disorders.