A psychiatrist, Prof Taiwo Lateef Sheikh, of the Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Shika, Zaria, has lamented inadequate number of specialists in the area of mental health, with only 300 experts servicing over 200 million Nigerians.
The mental health expert, who made this known to our correspondent in Zaria, said the situation was so pathetic that it required urgent government intervention.
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Prof Sheikh observed that there was serious brain drain in the area of psychiatry with over 1,000 born and trained Nigerians specialists practicing in USA alone and another 1,000 working in Europe.
He said, “Currently, about 3,000 Nigeria-born, bred and trained psychiatry experts are working in different countries abroad.”
He noted that statistics had shown that in Nigeria, one psychiatric expert was to the ratio of about one million people due to the shortage of manpower resources in the sector.
The mental health expert also revealed that one in every three persons globally had one form of mental illness or the other, while in Nigeria the ratio was higher, with between 50 and 70 million having various forms of mental imbalance.
He, however, stressed that mental illness did not necessarily mean insanity, explaining that it could be anxiety, depression or stress.
Prof Taiwo Sheikh, who is the immediate past President of the Association of Psychiatry in Nigeria (APN), noted that, “These fewer number of specialists are grossly inadequate and highly overloaded,” attributing it to poor remuneration, bad condition of service and lack of attractive welfare package in Nigeria.