As the world health organisation (w.h.o) beams its searchlight on suicide prevention on world mental health day today, stakeholders in the health sector have continued to call for destigmatization and better welfare for victims of mental illness.
At an awareness walk in Lagos today, Dr Peter Ogunnubi, a mental health consultant and founder of grace cottage hospital Ilupeju, called on the government to intensify drive for affordable care for mental health patients as over 30 million Nigerians suffer mental illness.
The psychiatrist further charged the 9th assembly on the passage of the mental health bill which according to him, will support and protect victims as well as their caregivers in the course of their duty.
The world mental health day is celebrated on October 10 every year and as this years call to action by the W.H.O is on 40 seconds of action to raise awareness on the scale of suicide across the world and role each one of us can play to help prevent it.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, made a passionate call to all residents of the State to register for the Health Insurance Scheme introduced by the government towards ensuring improved healthcare delivery.
Subscription to the scheme, Sanwo-Olu said, would enable the Government to prioritise its healthcare programmes to enhance its quality and affordability to the residents.
The Governor made the call at the ongoing Medic West Africa Conference at the Eko Convention Centre, Victoria Island.
Sanwo-Olu said the health insurance coverage must be scaled up as a condition to build the confidence of private investors in the scheme, which, he said, was created to remove the burden on the residents by providing affordable healthcare.
He said: “For the health to be completely affordable and accessible, people must subscribe to our Health Insurance Scheme, where we need to increase coverage in terms of registration. This is how developed countries are able to tackle their health financing and access.
“What it means is that everybody will not take ill at once. But, the financing process would be in a way that, anyone who needs it at any given time will have full access to it because such a person contributed to the scheme. Also, the option of health facilities to be used by a subscriber would include private hospitals. All of these are brought out to make healthcare accessible and affordable.”
The Governor also hinted that the State would start the process of revamping its road ambulance scheme, with the objective of creating more ambulance points across the State. The overhaul, Sanwo-Olu pointed out, would include the deployment of emergency responders each ambulance point to give palliative treatment to the injured before being transported to hospitals.
The Governor said his administration would not pay lip service to the upgrading of the state-owned specialist hospitals, adding that the primary healthcare centres were being strengthened to reduce pressure on the secondary health facilities.
Sanwo-Olu, who personally inspected latest medical technology equipment exhibited at the event, said the Government would be leveraging its Public-Private Partnership (PPP) policy to acquire some of the advanced technologies displayed at the conference.
He observed that advancement in technology had simplified various medical procedures which decades ago could not be easily accomplished, reiterating his administration’s readiness to leverage on technology to bring relief to the residents in healthcare delivery.
In the course of the exhibition, the Governor sealed equipment supply deals with two firms to equip the state-owned teaching hospital with some advanced medical equipment.
Joining the Governor at the event were the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, and the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof. Adetokunbo Fabanwo.