Ekiti governor signs mental health service bill into law

Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, says only God knows what his political future holds in the 2023 general elections.

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has signed into law a bill on mental health services.

Fayemi while signing the bill into law on Monday, reiterated his administration’s commitment to providing quality health services to the people of the state.

He stressed the importance of ensuring that people living with mental disorders have access to appropriate care, adding that catering for the welfare of all members of the society regardless of their physical, mental or social status was indicative of the level of commitment to delivering universal health coverage.

The Governor said the law would protect, provide, care and treat persons living with mental health disorders in order to save them from unnecessary stigma and marginalization which increase the likelihood of their human rights being violated. He added that the framework would handle critical issues of hospitalization and provision of high-quality care among others.

He said the core objectives of the law include establishing purpose-built mental health facilities and medical Social Work Department and units in selected secondary and tertiary medical facilities, as well as guarantee the protection of persons suffering from a mental disorder or illness and substance abuse in the state.

Other objectives, according to him include ensuring that every person living with mental disorders have access to mental health care facilities by receiving and being admitted for treatment in a designated facility.

Fayemi stated further, “As I sign this bill into law, I am fully convinced that the people of Ekiti State will be the best for it. This law is another promise kept in our pursuit to deliver qualitative, people-centred healthcare solutions to Ekiti Kete that leaves no one behind.

“It will complement other efforts towards ensuring adequate health and social protection for our people, and we are grateful to God for the privilege of being the instrument through which his love for the vulnerable amongst us is demonstrated.

”Earlier, the Wife of the Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, expressed appreciation to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye and his colleagues; the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda and the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Bamji Filani for the policy framework and speedy passage of the bill. She noted the difficulty that might arise from driving the various initiatives of the administration without the necessary legal and policy framework.

Mrs Fayemi explained that as Chair of the Gender-Based Violence Management Committee, she was aware of the interconnection between mental health and gender-based violence, adding that was the reason she had remained a strong advocate for a mental health bill.

Also, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye said the mental health law has made Ekiti stand out as a clear leader in legislative governance which concerns the health and well-being of the people.

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