President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has signed a Mental Health Bill which was harmonised by the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives in 2021, into law.
The Bill will replace the Lunacy act of 1958, the President of the Association of Psychiatrists of Nigeria, Prof Taiwo Obindo confirmed.
Professor Obindo described the move as a great relief to the mental health care and practice in the country.
“A final culmination to over two decades of several efforts by the Association of Psychiatrists of Nigeria now has an Act/Law on Mental Health governance and we are now part of the global space with best global practice,” he said in an interview.
A former president of the APN, Prof Taiwo Shielk was also appreciative of the signage of the Mental Health Bill into law, by the President.
In his appreciation of key players in the process, Shielk said, “Our profound gratitude to Senator Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Senator Ahmad Abubakar, Dr. Ibrahim Gambari, CBM International, Johnson & Johnson, and all our partners. After several attempts, by His Grace, we finally reached the milestone.”
With the new law, the Lunacy Act of 1958 which practitioners decry as outdated and inhumane, will cease to be effective.
The establishment of a Department of Mental Health Services in the Federal Ministry of Health and a Mental Health Fund are some of the provisions of the National Mental Health Bill.
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