A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Adeyemi Egbeola, on Saturday in Lokoja, decried the increasing rate of recession-associated clinical depression in Nigeria.
Egbeola, who works at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja, made the assertion at the 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM)/Scientific Conference Week of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Kogi chapter.
The theme of the conference is: “Economic Recession and The Rise of Depression”.
According to him, a significant association has been demonstrated between macroeconomic indicators in recession and clinical depression as a mental illness.
“For every suicide committed, there is an average of 20 attempts (ratio 1:20), due to unemployment, self-rated mental health, debts, financial difficulties and other common mental health issues.
“Depressive disorder accounts for 80 per cent suicide, and hopelessness is the most predictive indicator of suicide, a depressive thought pattern.
“In 2015 from January to November, record shows that 25, 267 patients were treated on mental health at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba Lagos, while the number increased to 53,287 in 2016 within the same period.
“At the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Ilorin, at the Adult Out-Patient Department (OPD), 3,500 patients were treated in 2015, while the number rose to 4,311 patients within the same period in 2016,” Egbeola said.
He urged the Federal Government to intensify training and supervision of low level manpower at the Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC).
The consultant psychiatrist said that government should also provide cheap, but effective medications and use of routine screening instruments to facilitate detection and reaction.
He also called for strengthening protective factors and mitigation of stressor, promotion of healthy lifestyle, adequate sleep, exercise, nourishing diet, and avoidance of smoking as well as moderate use of alcohol.
In his remarks, Gov. Yahaya Bello, commended the NMA for its support and commitment in delivering quality healthcare services to the people of the state, calling forbmore synergy and collaboration.
Bello said that the health sector had been one of the top most priorities of his administration, restating his commitment to use the available resources to better the lives of citizens.
He said that six ambulances were recently distributed to six local governments across the three senatorial districts of the state.
Bello, represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Edward Onoja, said that recruitment of health workers are ongoing in the state.
The governor said that the state government had initiated a healthcare package tagged, “Bello Healthcare Plus” for women and children to be receiving free treatment and drugs across the 21 local government areas of the state.
Bello, however, urged the people to take advantage of various social intervention and agricultural programmes to improve their standards of living.
In his speech, the NMA Chairman, Kogi chapter, Dr Godwin Tijani, said that the meeting is part of the advocacy aimed at improving the healthcare services to the people of the state.
Tijani said that the theme of the 2017 AGM “Economic Recession and the Rise of Depression”, was carefully selected due to the current economic recession in the country.
According to him, the programme will enable them to examine the implication of economic recession and come up with suggestions on how to reduce the rise in depression in the society.
“It remains our firm goals and beliefs that Kogi NMA, partnering with the state government will turn around the poor health indices in the state, especially reducing maternal and perinatal mortality.
“We commend the sincere efforts and achievements of Gov. Yahaya Bello in the health sector since inception of his administration, and the cordial relationship NMA has been enjoying with the government.
“NMA also commends the singular act of reinstating and payment of salaries and arrears of our colleagues employed in 2015,” Tijani said.
He, however, appealed to the governor to look into the issues of eight of their members that are still on the uncleared list and many members that are still grossly underpaid.