1 in 4 Nigerians Suffers From Mental Illness, WHO Urges FG To Improve Mental Health Care

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The World Health Organization revealed that one in four Nigerians are suffering from some sort of mental illness. This number potentially rises as the pandemic and insecurity continue to plague the country that owns only eight federal neuropsychiatric hospitals.

In Nigeria’s 2020 budget, President Muhammadu Buhari allocated just 4.3 per cent of the total budget for health.

“In Nigeria, an estimated 20–30 per cent of our population are believed to suffer from mental disorders. This is a very significant number, considering that Nigeria has an estimated population of 200 million. Unfortunately, the attention given to mental health disorders in Nigeria is inadequate,” said Health Minister Abdulaziz Abdullahi in November.

Nigeria’s former Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said in April that the country had “more than enough” doctors. However, WHO revealed that Nigeria has Africa’s highest caseload of depression and ranks 15th in the world in the frequency of suicide with only fewer than 10 per cent of mentally ill Nigerians have access to healthcare.

The nonprofit organisation Nigeria Health Watch made a poll in 2017 and found out that roughly nine out of every ten doctors in Nigeria are seeking to find work outside the country to pursue better career and financial opportunities.

Thus, Nigeria can only expect the ratio of one doctor to every 4,000 to 5,000 patients as opposed to WHO-recommended one physician to every 600 doctors. Nigeria Health Watch advises to keep pace with overall patient demand as Nigeria population continue to rise.