The Emir of Bwari in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Musa Ijakoro, on Sunday urged the Federal Government to intensify war towards eradicating the importation of illegal drugs and substances in Nigeria.
Ijakoro made the call when the Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI), an NGO, led a grassroots mental health campaign at the Bwari Area Council, Abuja.
He said that it was the responsibility of the Federal Government to ensure that such drugs were not sold or distributed in the country so as to protect the health of citizens and ensure the future of youths.
The traditional ruler noted that some youths in the country consumed these drugs and substances to aid them in carrying out acts of violence and mischief, adding that this is also affecting their mental health.
Ijakoro said that it therefore behoved of the federal government to put in place plans and strategies towards total eliminating the importation, sale and consumption of these drugs in the country.
“Health is the life of the human being; when you are healthy, you can do anything and achieve anything but when you abuse drugs the drugs will also abuse you.
“I am appealing to the federal government to intensify its sensitisation on these drugs and their effects. Agencies in charge of addressing this problem should double their efforts.
“We need to do this because it is for our own safety so that our young boys and girls can be safe,” said the traditional ruler.
While speaking to newsmen, Mr Ameh Abba, the MHEI President, said the organisation took its campaign to Bwari because it selected the community to provide mental health services, psychosocial support and related intervention.
Abba said that the organisation hoped to enhance the mental health of every Bwari dweller and open them up to opportunities for education, skills training and income-generating initiatives.
He said that the intervention was to aid the community in avoiding traditional healers in informal settings or unnecessary incarceration of people on the basis of their mental health conditions.
Abba said the organisation was working in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and in partnership with National Hospital, Abuja; FCT Primary Health Care Board and the Department of Health, Bwari Area Council to achieve this.
He said that this campaign was the first targeted at pregnant women and nursing mothers to educate them on the risks of developing postpartum depression which lead to mental health problems.
Abba said the organisation sensitised them on how to access health care services early for early and severe mental illness treatment at health care facilities close to them.
“We educated the women on how to cope with mental health conditions and seek help early to enhance full recovery of self esteem and optimal productivity.
“We created awareness on the importance of nutrition in achieving positive mental health status in infants under five and also administered vitamin A to the children.
“After this campaign, we will collect baseline information on individuals’ mental health conditions with a view to applying the outcome in evaluating progress being made by individuals.
“We will engage in periodic assessment, diagnosis and counselling sections in partnership with the ministry of health, FCT primary health care board, Department of health in Area Councils and the National Hospital, Abuja.
“We will also work in partnership with the National Psychological Association, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, and other civil society organisations to achieve this goal,” Abba said.
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