|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 148
Bridging the gap by strengthening the MHGAP: Integrating mental health care into primary health care in Nigeria
Abolaji Paul Adekeye
Department of Mental Health, Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria
|Date of Submission||15-Feb-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||28-Feb-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||17-May-2022|
Dr. Abolaji Paul Adekeye
Department of Mental Health, Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido - Ekiti, Ekiti State
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Adekeye AP. Bridging the gap by strengthening the MHGAP: Integrating mental health care into primary health care in Nigeria. Arch Ment Health 2022;23:148
|How to cite this URL:|
Adekeye AP. Bridging the gap by strengthening the MHGAP: Integrating mental health care into primary health care in Nigeria. Arch Ment Health [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 May 28];23:148. Available from: https://www.amhonline.org/text.asp?2022/23/2/148/345403
| Discussion|| |
Mental health services in Nigeria consist mainly of large government psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric departments of federal and state teaching hospitals, with few mental health professionals to serve the large population of the country. However, recently, community mental health services, which have been shown to improve access to care and clinical outcomes, are beginning to develop in some locations. Interestingly, a very small proportion of people utilize these services despite efforts to promote more accessible services. Therefore, interventions to increase service use are an essential component of the health system.
Currently, in Nigeria, owing to the rising burden of mental health disorders, the declining numbers of mental health professionals, limited awareness, and availability of mental health services, there is a need to integrate mental health care into the primary care for a wider and an improved mental health service delivery.
First, in every state of the country, a stock of all the federal and state tertiary psychiatric treatment facilities should be taken, and all the primary health-care facilities in each state should be evenly distributed under each tertiary psychiatric treatment facilities. The tertiary psychiatric facilities would be saddled with the responsibilities of training the staff of the primary health-care facilities under their watch through the concept of task sharing and other efficient modalities. This can be done through the WHO MhGAP Intervention Guide (IG) and would consequently position them to identify and treat common mental health disorders, and the complex cases would be referred to the overseeing tertiary centers. After treating the complex cases at the tertiary centers, the patients would be referred to the primary health-care centers for follow-up.
Besides, the patients seen by the specialists at the tertiary centers can be pooled up for specific days of follow-up (at about once every month) at the primary care centers for the specialists to see. This structure would create avenues for further training sessions for the medical and nursing staff of the primary health-care centers and position them for improved mental health care and delivery. Previous reports have shown that it is possible to scale up mental health services in primary care settings in Nigeria using the mhGAP-IG and a well-supervised training method. This format of training is promising, innovative, effective, and efficient, especially in settings where there are few specialists.
Furthermore, knowing that mental health care is delivered at the primary health-care centers would facilitate improved funding of mental health service delivery and research by the federal government. It would also improve the quality of care delivered to the mentally ill nationally and allow more mental health promotion and advocacy to be done at all tiers of government. Public attitudes toward the mentally ill such as prejudice, stigmatization, and discrimination would all be grossly reduced, and patients with mental illness would be able to live optimally in their highest level of potentials and capacities.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
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