– The Sun News

Saraki decries rise in suicide rate, substance abuse


From Kemi Yesufu

Senate President Bukola Saraki has called for the main-streaming of mental health services as part of the country’s push for Universal Health Coverage for its citizens.

Universal health coverage is defined as ensuring that all people have access to needed promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services, that are of sufficient quality to be effective.

Speaking at the 3rd annual Novo Health Africa World Mental Health Day Symposium, held in Abuja on Monday, Saraki, a doctor, expressed worry on the ease, at which young people purchase over-the counter-drugs, which they readily abuse, risking their mental wellbeing.

The Senate President who also described as highly worrisome, recent reports of Nigerians resorting to suicide, stated the need for “Nigerian solutions,” created from collaborations between government, the private sector and other stakeholders to holistically address public health challenges.

“It is important that we seek Nigerian solutions to Nigerian problems as we push for Universal Health Coverage”, he stated.

Saraki, who was represented at summit by Tony Osima, therefore commended Novo Health Africa, a Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO), for its consistency in promoting dialogue on mental health.

The Novo Health Africa summit organised to commemorate the World Health Organisation Mental Health Day held on 10 October each year, had as it’s theme, “Mental Health in the Work Place: Role of the Nigerian Corporate Community”.

Also speaking at meeting, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina said the HMO deserved commendation for creating awareness on the need for corporate organisations to introduce strictly implemented policies, targeted at keeping their staff mentally healthy and physically fit.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Managing Director of Novo Health Africa, Dr. Dorothy Jeff-Nnamani, assured that her organisation will not relent in demanding that government and the private sector partner on increasing investment for providing preventive and quality services for maintaining individuals’ mental health.


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