Experts Seek Implementation of Mental Health Law

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Image file – Pillars of Wellness

Healthcare experts have called on stakeholders in the sector to ensure the implementation of the newly signed Mental Health Law.

They made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos.

A consultant neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, said the implementation of the new law would enhance the country’s wellness.

NAN recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Mental Health Bill harmonised by the National Assembly in 2021.

The signing which seems to be a parting gift to Nigerians from the president is the first Mental Health Act/Law post-independence and will also replace the Lunacy Act of 1958.

Kadiri, also the Medical Director, Pinnacle Medical Services Ltd., said that stakeholders in the health sector must ensure the implementation and domestication of the law in all the states of the federation.

According to her, there is a need for further advocacy, sensitisation, and interpretation of the law for more understanding by health institutions, patients, and the general public.

She said: “One thing is to sign the Mental Health Bill into law; which has been done by President Muhammadu Buhari, and we thank God for that.

“But the major thing is the implementation and enforcement of the law.

“In Nigeria, we don’t lack laws, what we lack is implementation. We have had a series of laws, but their implementation/execution remained the challenge.

”For the new National Mental Health Law; its implementation is going to take time because it will require a lot of advocacy, education, and sensitisation to create room for proper interpretation and understanding of provisions of the law.

“A lot has to be done and it is going to be a journey. So, it is our duty as stakeholders to walk the talk and do everything possible to ensure implementation and domestication of the law across all states of the country.”

Also speaking, Dr. Samuel Aladejare, the immediate past- President, Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital Yaba, stressed the need for political will for the implementation of the law.

According to him, all the stakeholders, especially the law enforcement agencies need to be updated about their crucial roles for a seamless take off and adequate funding.

“As excited as I am about the eventual signing of the Mental Health Bill, I’m also well aware that there is much more to be done in translating the good intentions therein to reality.

”There is a need for more political will for implementation, all the necessary stakeholders especially the law enforcement agencies should step up efforts toward execution of the new National Mental Health Law,” he said. 

(NAN)

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