With the population of persons in Nigeria who needs psychiatric attention, it is worrisome that the country has a few neuropsychiatric hospitals and trained psychiatrists. The Medical Director, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital (FNH),Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Rahman Lawal in this interview with Martins Ifijeh talked about the need for state governments to set up neuropsychiatric hospitals in their various states, among other related issues. The challenges as the medical director of FNH.

I wouldn’t say there are no challenges, because management in itself is all about challenges. Specialist hospitals like ours are associated with challenges ranging from administrative, running of the hospital, trying to put up infrastructure and majorly financial challenges. These challenges are there, because we are constantly looking for ways to improve our quality of services as this is what we owe the people. Our believe is that, as we continue to push, we will be able to raise standard and quality of practice to meet international standard such that wherever one comes from anywhere in the world, we’ll be able to give such persons quality health care as it is obtained in developed countries.

Challenges that have been surmounted

Life is all about continuos exercise, but so far, we have tried in terms of infrastructural facilities, we have also tried to improve on the quality of training of resident doctors, we have also tried to improve the welfare of our staff with the finance at our disposal by way of sending them for training and where possible we organize in house training too. Today we have over 500 bed spaces. Inadequacies of Neuropsychiatric hospitals in the country

On the federal government’s part, I will say they have done a lot. We were previously having three neuropsychiatric hospitals in Nigeria, but today we have eight. I think going by our population, it’s now up to the state governments to set up neuropsychiatric hospitals in their various states. I know some of these states have, but they are very few. If every state set up neuropsychiatric hospitals then the burden of patients not able to access treatment promptly will reduce drastically.

For the state governments that can’t establish any, they can have a neuropsychiatric department in their various general hospitals or health centres and then provide specialists to manage the department. Because there is no way the few psychiatric hospitals we have in the country can cater for the entire population. That is why we must bring treatment closer to the people.
The number of qualified psychiatrists every year is increasing, so we should take advantage of that and increase psychiatric facilities all over the country. It’s not that we have enough doctors, but let’s maximise the ones we have to capacity by putting more facilities in place.

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