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Over 650,000 IDPs Could Suffer From Mental Disorders In Northeast

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Northeast Emergency Manager, Dr. Collins Owili has said with prevalence of mental illness among 24.5 million Nigerians, 650, 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) may suffer from mental disorder.

The decade long conflict; has affected Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states; with the destruction of over 37,000 lives and $9 billion (N3.42 trillion) worth of property.


Owili raised the alarm in 2016-2019 WHO Omnibus Report; released Sunday to journalists in Maiduguri, Borno state.

He said despite upsurge in mental disorders caused by insurgency, the Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Maiduguri, is the only ‘specialized mental health institution’ in Northeast.


“This is even more worrisome in the emergency context of the region with very few mental health professionals,” said the report, stating that there is high incident rate of gender-based violence.

According to Dr. Owili, presently, only 18 per cent of the fully or partially functioning health centres in Borno state provide integrated clinical management services for survivors of violence.


On prevalence and rise of mental disorder, the report said: “WHO estimates that as many as 1 every 5 IDPs may need mental health care
in emergencies.


“In the case in northeast-Nigeria, the rate of common mental disorders can double due to gender based violence, abduction and gross
atrocities.


He said that these could trigger psychological problems which take years to heal, while living in IDP camps and host communities.


He said this prompted WHO to collaborate with the Office of U.S Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Nigerian Humanitarian Fund (NHF)
and Maiduguri Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital develops: “The 2019-2021 Borno state mental health strategic frameworks.”


He disclosed that the framework will provided mental health care services at primary healthcare level, while the capacity of non-mental health specialists be built on Mental Health Gap Action Programme Intervention Guide

(mhGAP-IG).

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