Healthcare workers, youth groups, community-based organisations, and other participants at a public mental health awareness campaign in Zamfara state have resolved to look inwards to fight drug addiction in the area.
The coalition made this known in Gusau, the state capital at the end of a one-day interactive meeting organised by the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Kware, Sokoto state.
The meeting was sponsored by the Northwest Wide Public Mental Health Awareness Campaign.
The participants, having identified some of the major factors that lead to mental illness, agreed to establish strong partnership with the traditional institutions at the grassroots that will monitor the use of all forms of drugs in their respective areas.
The meeting also agreed that henceforth, chemists would not be allowed to operate unless the operators satisfied the required qualifications to operate.
While calling on medical experts and health care personnel to avoid continuous administration of drugs on patients, the participants identified counseling as one of the best ways of averting mental disorder.
The participants said they would work closely with security agencies, especially the police, to check the activities of patent medical stores.
They also appealed to traditional herbalists to be very careful in the treatment of their patients and urged governments at all levels to reintroduce physical and health education subjects at the primary and secondary school levels.
The meeting identified genetic, social, and economic challenges as well as political factors as some of the causes of mental illness in the country.
The participants were drilled on the causes and effects of mental illnesses by a Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. Aremu Saad which led to taking the far reaching decisions.
Earlier in an address of welcome, the Vice-Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in the state, Dr. Mannir Bature, said the meeting was organised to draw the attention of stakeholders to the need to combat mental illness in the country.
The participants included members of Ward Development Committees, Health Facility Committees, Youth Groups and Media Practitioners.