Professor Monday Igwe, a neuropsychiatrist, says the signing of the Mental Health Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari is “a giant leap in the management of mental health service delivery in Nigeria.”
Igwe, who is also the medical director of the Enugu Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, made the award during an interview at Enugu on Friday.
A neuropsychiatrist has revealed that the new law will replace the 1958 Insanity Act. Which psychiatrist have you operated with before?
According to him, this is good for the practice of psychiatry in Nigeria. Dear President, Thank you for this wonderful New Year gift.
“I join mental health care practitioners, patients, civil society organizations and the people of Nigeria in celebrating this landmark event in the practice and care of people with mental health challenges in Nigeria. increase.
“I would also like to thank the President for taking the bold step to rebuild the delivery of mental health care services in our sector.
A quick look at the legislative process, he found, had its twists and turns, and he argued that Nigeria’s first mental health law, the Insanity Ordinance, was enacted in 1916 and revised in 1958. Added.
Mr Igwe said the Lunacy Ordinance gives medical practitioners and magistrates the power to imprison mentally ill patients.
He explained that legislation was enacted primarily to provide custodial care because evidence-based treatment approaches were still lacking at the time.
“The old law is flawed in several respects. First, the use of the terms madness or idiot is derogatory and stigmatizing and does not reflect current thinking about mental health conditions.
“Second, it only provides in-custody care within the criminal justice system, not treatment in medical facilities.
“However, despite cost-effective strategies and the vast amount of scientific evidence regarding the availability of treatments in Nigeria, these laws have not been amended for more than 50 years.
“There were several attempts to repeal the law in 2003 and 2013, most recently in 2019 and now with presidential approval,” he said.
Mr Igwe said the signed bill is divided into 12 parts.
“The first part of the bill describes the purpose and application of the law. The second part describes the procedure for establishing the National Council for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and its functions and powers. .
Part 3 describes the establishment and functioning of mental health review courts. Part 4 articulates the rights of people with mental and substance use disorders and the responsibilities of governments.
“There is a part that deals with the hospitalization of patients involved in criminal proceedings. Another part deals with the property and affairs of patients.
“There is also a part that deals with the financial provisions of the commission, especially with the establishment of the mental health fund,” he said.
Don said the signed bill was not a perfect law but “a giant leap in the management of mental health care service delivery in Nigeria”.
Recall that Professor Taiwo Obindo, president of the Nigerian Psychiatrists Association, confirmed the signatures on Friday.