A Psychiatrist, Dr Maymunah Kadiri, on Friday appealed to the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the Mental Health Bill currently before it.
Kadiri, the Medical Director, Pinnacle Medical Services, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Pinnacle is a health and wellness centre for psychological, behavioural and mental health-related issues.
According to her, when the bill becomes an act, it will reduce the burden on sufferers and care will be available at minimal cost.
“We appeal to the National Assembly and the Federal Government to pass the Mental Health Bill and make it an act.
“They should put in place structures and incorporate all the people, especially psychiatrists back into the system for them to have a sense of belonging.
“This set of specialists need to enjoy the basic means of life in their own country for them to work effectively.
“We need water, electricity, good roads, good welfare packages and healthcare system in place.
“As we speak, we are less than 200 registered psychiatrists practicing in Nigeria, meaning that we have one psychiatrist to one million Nigerians.
“We have more Nigerian psychiatrists in UK than in Nigeria.
“The truth is that among doctors generally, we have more Nigerian doctors among the black African-Americans in America.
“So, government needs to ensure that things function well in Nigeria for the medical workers to succeed,’’ Kadiri said.
She said that it was heartbreaking for psychiatrists, after being trained for many years to become specialists and have to stay without jobs.
“Being a psychiatrist in Nigeria means after medical school, you also go for further training for another six years to be a specialist and after all of the years spent, you still don’t get jobs.
“Simply because of the fact that the environment is not conducive and things are not really working as it should work,’’ Kadiri said.
She urged government to accord high priority to mental health in terms of policy and ensure funding of the healthcare sector.
NAN reports that the Senate had early this year said it had developed two bills for legislation: the National Drug Control Bill and National Mental Health Bill.
The proposed Mental Health Bill is crafted to ensure that standard facilities are available in every state to provide mental health and substance abuse services.
It also guarantees the protection of the rights of people with mental illness and stipulates that mental health practitioners and facilities no longer engage in practices that are harmful to people with mental health and substance use disorders.