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Mental Health Day: Psychiatrist calls for more investments in mental health to broaden patronage

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Dr Shehu Sale, the Medical Director of the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital Kware, Sokoto state, on Saturday called for more investment in mental healthcare to broaden public patronage in the country.

Sale, a Consultant Psychiatrists, made the call at a sensitization lecture organised by the hospital to commemorate the 2020 World Mental Health Day, celebrated every Oct. 10.
He said psychiatric hospitals provide efficient services in mental health delivery with different roles played by professionals.

”Mental health services provision is a combination of teamwork made up of psychiatrists, nurses, clinical psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.
“More investment is needed in order to meet up with best global practices so that people will be satisfied that psychiatric hospitals are well placed to take care of all forms of mental health challenges.

“Investment in mental healthcare is one of the major challenges affecting many psychiatric hospitals in the country in terms of accessibility and availability to treatments.
“The proper way to arrest the situation is only through involvement of philanthropists and private bodies and government at all levels as many of the general hospitals have few or no mental health personnel,” Sale said.

”The Federal Government is trying, because all its psychiatric hospitals have manpower, equipment and ensured routine financial disbursements.
Sale said “Mental healthcare is the 9th component of the primary healthcare and has not been fully integrated, making it difficult for people in the rural areas to access treatment.”

The Medical Director said that the conflict situation in some parts of the country and emergence of COVID-19 pandemic have further diminished the little accessibility to mental healthcare.

”Most of the Federal government-owned psychiatric hospitals are situated in urban centres, as mental healthcare is not fully integrated, so, there is need for a massive scale investment to improve mental care in Nigeria. Some professionals in the field are leaving the country for greener pastures in developed nations.

”Nigeria is training psychiatrists or experts in this field; as we are training, they are migrating to other countries something needed to be done,” Sale added.
He emphasized the need for sustained campaign to enlighten the public on issues relating to mental health and the need to stop stigmatisation, discrimination, humiliation and neglects being faced by mentally-challenged people in the society.

According to him, the campaign programme should focus on awareness creation on mental health and patronising traditional healers particularly at the community and ward levels.
He urged well-meaning Nigerians, non-governmental organisations, philanthropists and governments to take up the task of enlightening the public about their mental health.
“In most areas, people with this ailment are often maltreated and neglected by the public, their family members and the community,” he said.

Sale, an Associate Professor and a Master Trainer of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), called on people to access the specialized facilities and cautioned them against seeking alternative therapy and patronising unprofessional healers.

He said accessing mental health at an early stage helps to solve the health challenge.

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About 86% of Covid-19 infections in Africa go unnoticed – WHO

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About 86% of Covid-19 infections in Africa go unnoticed – WHO
About 86 per cent of all coronavirus infections in Africa go unnoticed, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday.

The WHO puts the number of all infections on the continent at 59 million, over seven times more than the eight million reported cases.

“The high number of unreported cases can be explained by the fact that health facilities have so far focused on testing people. People with symptoms of the disease has led to extensive under-reporting.”

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said with limited testing, the continent is flying blind in far too many communities.

“What we see could just be the tip of the iceberg, so far, only 70 million COVID-19 tests have been reported on the continent of 1.3 billion people.

“By comparison, the United States, with about a third of the population, had conducted more than 550 million tests.

“While Britain, with less than 10 per cent of Africa’s population, had conducted more than 280 million tests, it said.

In total, more than 8.4 million coronavirus cases have been recorded in Africa, including 214,000 deaths.

According to WHO data, less than half of the African countries that received vaccines have fully vaccinated an average of about two per cent of their populations.

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COVID-19 caused rise in TB deaths for first time in decade – WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday said deaths from Tuberculosis (TB), one of the top infectious killers in the world, increased for the first time in a decade, as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

WHO’s 2021 Global TB report highlighted how years of global progress in tackling the disease had been “reversed” since the pandemic overwhelmed health care systems in 2020, preventing vulnerable people from seeking help.

Lockdowns had also thwarted many people’s access to essential health care services, the report insisted, before issuing the additional warning that the death toll from the disease could be much higher in 2021 and 2022.

“This report confirms our fears that the disruption of essential health services due to the pandemic could start to unravel years of progress against tuberculosis,” WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus said.

“This is alarming news that must serve as a global wake-up call to the urgent need for investments and innovation to close the gaps in diagnosis, treatment and care for the millions of people affected,” he added.

Covering the response to the epidemic in 197 countries and areas, the TB report found that in 2020, some 1.5 million people died from TB in 2020 – more than in 2019.

This included 214,000 patients with HIV, the UN agency said, noting that the overall TB increase was mainly in 30 countries which include Angola, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Zambia.

Because of the new coronavirus pandemic, “challenges” which made it impossible to provide and access essential TB services left many people undiagnosed in 2020.

In a worrying development, WHO noted that the number of people newly diagnosed people with the disease fell from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020.

It stated that far fewer people were diagnosed, treated or provided with TB preventive treatment compared with 2019.

Overall spending on essential TB services also fell, WHO said, adding that the highest drop in TB notifications between 2019 and 2020 were India (down 41 per cent), Indonesia (14 per cent), the Philippines (12 per cent) and China (eight per cent).

“These and 12 other countries accounted for 93 per cent of the total global drop in notifications,” said WHO.

There was also a reduction in provision of TB preventative treatment.

Some 2.8 million people accessed this in 2020, which was a 21 per cent reduction since 2019.

In addition, the number of people treated for drug-resistant TB fell by 15 per cent, from 177,000 in 2019 to 150,000 in 2020, equivalent to only about one in three of those in need.

Today, some 4.1 million people suffer from TB but have not been diagnosed with the disease or their status has not been reported to national authorities. This is up from 2.9 million in 2019.

The report’s recommendations include a call for countries to put in place urgent measures to restore access to essential TB services.

It recommended a doubling of investment in TB research and innovation and concerted action across the health sector and others to address the social, environmental and economic causes of TB and its consequences.

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World Trauma Day: Over 6 million people die from traumatic injuries annually

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Dr ‘Kunle Olawepo, the Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Committee on Road Safety and Trauma Services, says no fewer than six million people die from traumatic injuries annually.

Olawepo made the disclosure as the world marks the World Trauma Day 2020 on Saturday.

He explained in a statement that over 80 percent of these injuries were attributable to road traffic crashes.

According to him, trauma is broadly divided into physical and emotional trauma.

“Trauma can be defined as either a physical injury to a living tissue caused by external force (physical harm) or an emotional (psychological) distress in response to an unpleasant situation.”

According to Olawepo, trauma contributes to more deaths than malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined and that injuries could lead to temporary or permanent disabilities.

“There were 15 fatal plane crashes causing 556 deaths in 2018 alone across the globe and mortality arising from wars was put at about 24,000 in 2014.

“Also, between 50 to 60 million were displaced during the second World War,” he said.

Olawepo ,who is also the President of Nigerian Orthopaedic Association, said that in Nigeria, deaths recorded from COVID-19 thus far is 1,116.

“Whereas estimated death from Boko Haram terrorism and insurgency alone is put at an average of 1,000 per year in the last three years”.

He added that trauma cuts across all ages, sexes, races and societal strata and that it consist of events such as road traffic accidents (crashes), plane crashes (aviation accidents), boat and ship wreckages (marine) and fire outbreaks among others.

On the signs of trauma, Olawepo said that those with trauma can show emotional responses such as outbursts, aggressive behaviour withdrawal and depression among others.

He also emphasised that death and physical disabilities in hitherto able-bodied people arising from trauma significantly affect the economic buoyancy of families, communities and the nation at large.

“Young and active age group is the principally affected group thus drastically dropping national productivity and diminishing the economy. Militancy and pipeline disruptions cripple the main source of income for Nigeria,” he said.

He advised to always use seatbelts and avoid distraction like the use of phones while driving as well as drugs and alcohol.

“Ask for support from people who care about you or attend a local support group for people who have had a similar experience and find a support group led by a trained professional who can facilitate discussions,” he said.

Olawepo also urged the government to provide safe roads for land travels throughout the country.

He added that government can also renovate and implement alternative means of travel especially rail transportation.

“There is need for permanent relocation of people who live in the flood prone areas of the country to safer grounds.

“The burden of trauma is enormous, morbidity associated with COVID-19 is evidently milder than that from trauma.

“With an annual global trauma mortality figure of over 6 million compared with less than 2 million for COVID-19, government, medical collaboration and resources globally should be deployed to the prevention and treatment of trauma,” he said.

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