The Citizens Advocacy Group on Mental Health Nigeria, on Tuesday called for the inclusion of mental health care into services covered by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
Mr Ameh Zion, who spoke on behalf of the group, told newsmen in Abuja that the inclusion would ensure affordable care.
Zion, who expressed concern about the number of Nigerians struggling with mental health issues, said “mental healthcare is in a sorry state, given that we have more than 60 million Nigerians suffering from various mental illnesses.
“Also worrisome is the fact that only about 10 per cent of such people are able to access appropriate care.’’
The inclusion of mental health in NHIA guidelines, according to him, will positively impact individuals, families, communities and the nation as a whole.
Zion, who is the Founder of the Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI), said many Nigerians were silently battling mental health issues, often without proper support or treatment options.
“The consequences of untreated mental health conditions are far-reaching, impacting not only individuals but also their families, communities and the nation as a whole.
“The NHIA has the power to change this narrative by including mental health into the NHIA guidelines to ensure that Nigerians have access to the necessary mental health services without facing financial barriers.
“Imagine a Nigeria where mental health is given the same importance as physical health.”
He emphasised the interconnection of mental and physical health, stressing that neglecting mental health could adversely affect overall well-being.
“But by including mental health in the NHIA guidelines, it will encourage the integration of services with primary healthcare, ensuring a holistic approach to healthcare delivery,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NHIA guidelines encompass various aspects, from enrollment and benefit packages to accreditation of healthcare providers.
It aimed at ensuring transparency, accountability and efficiency in implementing health insurance scheme.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria