Group advocates laws to protect psychosocial disabilities in Nigeria

By Okon Okon
A group, Support, Comprehensive Care and Empowerment for people with Psychosocial Disabilities (SUCCEED), has called on the Federal Government to enact laws to strengthen persons with the disabilities in the country.

The group made the call at a workshop organised in collaboration with the Global Disability Inclusion (CBM) in Nigeria on Friday in Abuja.

The workshop was to create regional centres of excellence in research, capacity-building and outreach on psychosocial disabilities
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SUCCEED is a five-country research consortium in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The consortium is coordinated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in the United Kingdom.

 

Mr Michael Njenga, Regional Adviser for Africa’s CBM global, explained that the aim of the workshop was to enlighten the government and Nigerians as a whole, on challenges faced by OPPD in the entire society.

“The reason why we have this particular workshop is to strengthen the OPPD in Nigeria, because persons with psychosocial disabilities and mental health conditions are underrepresented groups.

They faced a lot of stigmatisation, discrimination, and social exclusion.

 

The measures of protecting this set of pepople in the society are the legislative measures.
“This is to ensure that we have enabling policy and legal framework that complies with International Human Right standards and practices,” he said.
Njenga cautioned that instead of trying to discriminate against these persons, government should rather, build the capacity of OPPD and mentor their condition to ensure that they are meaningfully engaged in government processes.
He added that government should also ensure their full and effective participation and inclusion in the societies.

The regional adviser also called for an increase in budgetary allocation in the health sector, so as to have impact in area of mental health and resources to build technical experts and workers, to handle issues related to persons with the psychosocial disabilities.

Also, speaking, Philip Ode, programme Officer CBM, said the role of CBM was focused on strengthening the capacity of OPPD in Nigeria.

Ode said the group had been recognised as one which was under represented among the clusters of organisations of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.

“This programme will involve developing and testing new models of Community-Based Rehabilitation for people with psychosis, using the principle of working closely with people with live experience of psychosis in participating West and Southeast African field sites,” he said.

According to Ode, the workshop serves as an opportunity to begin to see how persons who have been at the forefront of the call for such groups, to getting their voices heard, so that they too could have a voice in the society.

In her remark, Mrs Zunzika Thole, a participant, who described the workshop as a comprehensive one, said the adoption of law and initiative to protect such group of persons in Nigeria would go along way to address challenges of mental health in the country.

“This programme has helped us to develop more comprehensive care for OPPD in other countries.
“I am already working with a non-governmental organisation that deals on mental health, so this is a step forward to build such capacity in Nigeria, to further help people with psychosocial disabilities,” she said. (NAN)

»Group advocates laws to protect psychosocial disabilities in Nigeria«

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