Participants at the national workshop, organised to discuss the management of post traumatic stress disorders (PTSDs) in Nigeria, have recommended strategic partnerships among stakeholders, improved capacity building and increased funding as key to delivering efficient post traumatic response to victims of natural and man-made disasters in the country.
The participants of the one-day workshop, organised by Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF) in partnership with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), lamented that the existing Draft National Guidelines for the Management of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders in Nigeria is outdated and not robust enough to capture the needs of the victims of disasters in Nigeria.
Dr Shehu Shehu, a Consultant and Mental Health Specialist for National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), who presented the National Guideline, noted that the guidelines emphasised on the identification of PTSDs, basic psychological intervention appropriate to competence and referral pathway.
In the communiqué, released at the end of the workshop, the participants called for cooperation between key stakeholders to provide medical and social support; rapid assessment using first responders and religious leaders; capacity building targeted at caregivers and task shifting; as well as subsidy/tax free laws to stimulate local production of needed medications, amongst others.
They also recommended that the national assembly should pass bills that would allow a specific percentage of the federation account be allocated to agencies like Health Ministries, NPHCDA, NEMA etc dedicated to the management of psychological distress after disaster, as well as that mandating corporate organisations to dedicate a percentage of their CSR budget to post traumatic stress care.
On developing an appropriate structure for post-traumatic care in Nigeria, the participants, made up of national and international players in the field of mental and community health, psychology, psychiatry, social work, and counseling, advocated for the incorporation of disaster response modules into the schools program. They also called for special attention to be given to special population like women, children and the elderly in the draft structure.
The workshop also called on the mobile communication networks in the country to provide toll free lines to enhance education and information dissemination on post trauma stress care in the country.
Responding to the communiqué, Dr. Ado Mohammed, the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) assured the participants that all the recommendations of the various stakeholders will be adopted and accepted by the state PHCBs.
Earlier in her presentation, Aisha Oyebode, the Chief Executive Officer of Murtala Muhammed Foundation said the workshop was convened to provide a platform for the evolution of a robust framework for the management of psychological trauma in disaster situations in the country.