Pate, Health Ministry RAN
Health Minister Warns of Excessive Salt Consumption Risks

How Nigeria Will Attain Universal Health Coverage – Pate

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate has identified care deinstitutionalization, improved funding, affordable and accessible quality medication as parts of strategies for achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through mental health integration.

Prof. Pate who stated this while presenting the keynote address at the 6th Afe Babalola University Multi-System Hospital (AMSH) anniversary lecture with the theme” Achieving Universal Health Coverage Through Mental Health Service Integration,” also lamented low knowledge of mental health among Nigerians.

Represented by the National Coordinator of the National Mental Health Programme, Dr. Tunde Ojo, the minister also said that the Federal Government is addressing mental health needs of Nigerians.

While noting that just one factor cannot be responsible for mental health issue he listed, he added that other strategies as integrated approach to care, public /private partnership, incentive creation, integration of mental health issues in other sectors policies and programmes, among others.

 Prof Pate further express worries about the low level of mental health literacy in the country.

“People have wrong notions about what are the causes of mental health condition and where they can get treatment. There is the need to educate and sensitize people about what mental health is, and it’s not just about disease, but what we can do to enhance our mental health. I believe that will go a long way in improving mental health of Nigerians,” the minister said.

Ojo, on behalf of the minister stated that everybody has mental health from a combination of biological, psychological, social and factors.

“Unemployment, socio-economic, family factors and a whole of things could be responsible for the development of health issues. A whole lots come together.

 “So, if people have those with mental health condition in their family, they can have tendency of developing it also, but that does not necessarily mean that they will develop it,” Pate added.

 He added that the Federal Government is doing quite a lot to address mental health needs of Nigerians by integrating other sectors aside from the health.

 “We have a national mental health policy that everyone including state actors, state government can take up on. It is a document that has something for everybody to be able to address mental health of Nigerians. We also have the national suicide prevention strategic framework.

“All of us know that, there have been report of rising cases of suicide. But what can we do as a country or as organisation to be able to prevent suicide because it can be prevented.

 “We have that document. We all know before now that there is a Lunacy Act that talks about the right of people with mental health. This is a very archaic one. Again, the Federal Government in 2022 passed the National Mental Health Act which speaks against the violation of rights of people with mental health condition.

 “The abuse of rights of such people. They go to traditional settings and religious homes in trying to get care. But what happen is that they violate their rights by being beaten, chained and, some female victims go for such treatment, only to come home with pregnancy. These are no solutions. These are human beings that have their rights to dignity and their rights must be protected,” the minister said.

 He explained that government has made the legal and policy framework available, adding that it is now left for the the stakeholders to promote mental health.

 The Chief Medical Director of AMSH, Dr Kolawole Ogundipe recalled that six years down the line, the hospital has continued to experience unprecedented growth and achieved incredible feats, while offering cutting-edge services in all aspects of medicine.

Also, the Vice Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Prof Smaranda Olarinde said apart from providing medical services, the hospital also engaged in research and training of both undergraduates medical and allied students.

 “The university medical school, which started 12 years ago has graduated six sets of medical students,” the VC added.