Promoting Welfare Of Lunatics/Destitutes In Ogun
Sir: The World Health Organization (WHO) once declared that Psychiatrists are an extremely scarce resource in Nigeria, because in a population of over 140 million, there are only 130 psychiatrists, which presupposes a ratio of one psychiatrist to 1.1 million Nigerians.
Also, available statistics showed that about 20 million Nigerians suffer some form of mental disorder, about 10 per cent receive any form of treatment, and less than one per cent receive specialist care. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry adopted mental health as the ninth component of primary health care in 1989, but this is yet to be integrated fully into primary health care services.
As far back as the 1970s, (WHO) recommended that psychiatry be firmly rooted in primary care in order to effectively reduce the treatment gap for mental health disorders. However, the number of lunatics and destitute in Ogun State was highly intolerable such that it was unsafe for parents to leave their wards to go to school alone or to run errands outside their compounds, let alone leave them to cross the roads. The adults are equally unsafe because without vigilance one can be harassed or assaulted by lunatics or destitute.
It is also worthy to note that among various steps to tackle the menace, a set of 231 peoples with unsound minds were evacuated from various parts of the states in year 2014, including 60 vagrant lunatics who were reunited with their families after being rehabilitated and taken care of, 56 destitute were also reunited with their families while others are still being taken care off. The state government also assisted vulnerable children who are out of school, the lost ones, those roaming the streets and hawking during school hours by reconciling the ‘lost but found ‘ children back with their families, taking the homeless to children homes and the youths amongst them to Juvenile Remand Home.
The State Government through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development also established a Child Protection Network Committee to reduce the cases of child trafficking, child labour and abuse in the state. It is not a gainsaying that all efforts and initiatives of government and incorporation of the mother Ministry, Ogun streets now are safer and peaceful while citizens can now sleep with their eyes closed, based on the measures of security put in place by the government to protect lives and properties.
Conclusively, all these efforts have facilitated the growth of investors, made entrepreneurs to feel safer to have their own small businesses, which automatically generate more employment opportunities and even attracted more tourists.
• Oyinkansola Ayoola,