Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has made the case for broader stakeholder engagement and huge investment in the health sector to respond to mental and other health issues.
Obaseki made the call on Saturday in his notes on the commemoration of World Mental Health Day, observed by the United Nations and its partners on October 10, each year.
According to the governor, “The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic dealt as much blow to our mental health as it did to the global economy. However, this is not the time to blame anyone but a time to expand the list of stakeholders in our global health system for more ideas and funding.”
He explained that “with COVID-19, we have all come to the realisation that much more attention must be given to the health sector so that it can withstand future pandemics of same or higher scale.
“Big and small businesses, national and sub-national governments, multilateral organisations, development partners, rights groups, health professionals, religious and other groups and individuals all have a role to play in creating a robust health system for the globe. COVID-19 has demonstrated that no one is insulated in the event of a pandemic, so we all must come together with our resources to fortify the global health system,” Obaseki said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “This year’s World Mental Health Day, comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their future; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before.
And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye.”
The global body added that “The economic consequences of the pandemic are already being felt, as companies let staff go in an effort to save their businesses, or indeed shut down completely.
“Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years.
“Investment in mental health programmes at the national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of chronic underfunding, is now more important than it has ever been. This is why the goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health.”