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LAGOS LAUNCHES HELP LINE FOR MENTAL HEALTH CARE SUPPORT

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…Constructs a Mental Health Institute with 1,500 Bed Psychiatric Hospital, Rehabilitation Centre

Lagos State Government has launched a mental health helpline tagged ‘The Lagos Lifeline’; which is a tele-Mental Health service that provides Lagos residents with access to psychosocial support, counselling and psychotherapy services free of charge through a dedicated line – 0909000MIND or 0909000646.

Speaking today at the formal launch of the facility, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said the Lagos Lifeline is a Mental Health Crisis Management service designed to bridge the gap in the availability of mental health service.

“The Lagos Lifeline provides a bridge to meet various challenges militating against access to mental health services including, the incidence of suicidal attempts, poor access to mental health services for patients in hard-to-reach areas, Stigma to Mental Health Issues and patients who need treatment, poor access to information and referral to neighboring health facilities providing mental health services and poor linkages for mental health support for victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence”, Abayomi stated.

He noted that the objective of the Lagos Lifeline is geared towards providing improved access to simple diagnostic, counselling, and referral services for Lagosians, either as first point-of-call, or for follow-up care.

While stating that the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has made mental health a priority, the Commissioner averred that this is evident in government’s implementation activities targeted at increasing access to mental health care at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of health infrastructure.

Abayomi disclosed that the State Government has conceptualized a Mental Health Institute with a capacity for 500 bed psychiatric hospital and 1000 bed rehabilitation Centre at Ketu Ejirin in furtherance of its efforts to improve access to mental health services.

He said: “To make sure that we pick up mental health early, we are refurbishing our psychiatric wards in our general hospitals and in our tertiary hospital at LASUTH, and going beyond that, we have currently designed and conceptualized probably the largest mental health institute in Nigeria; it will be 500 bed psychiatric hospital coupled with 1000 bed for rehabilitation.

“It was originally scheduled to be built in Majidun but it will be too big for Majidun, so we had to move it to Ketu-Ejirin where we have a lot of space. It is going to be on 15 hectares of land, we are currently reclaiming the lands.

We have appointed the contractors, work will start this year and it will become the focal point of our mental health strategy where we will provide Lagosians with access to mental health services and train persons who are skilled in recognizing and treating mental health”.

The Commissioner hinted that the state government will expend resources to address mental health issues particularly as it affects emerging issues of stress, anxiety, stigmatization and mental health disorders associated with a mega city like Lagos.

While noting that mental health is one of the disciplines in health that has been neglected, Abayomi averred that the present administration is trying to make up for the neglect by investing in infrastructure and human resource development to manage and address mental health issues.

“So while we plan to commemorate this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we will keep going with a lot of energy. We will ensure that we develop the human resources that are able to manage mental disorders, more importantly create the opportunity to detect tell-tale science very early and treat them before they become serious problems, and at the end, just making life easier for Lagosians will go a long way to easing mental disorder, mental stress and mental anxiety”, he said.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye said the COVID19 pandemic and its ensuing response including the lockdown strategy brought to fore some health issues that are linked to mental health prompting the need for improved access to mental health services.

He said: “The Ministry of Health recognized early that there is a reason to strengthen our mental health program and our mental health response and this is what led to the setup of the Lagos Lifeline. We have a team of dedicated staff led by Dr Ajumale who has been extremely committed to this process to help set up the help line”.

Explaining how the Lifeline works, Ogboye said “we have people who have been trained in responding to callers. People call in and speak with one of our trained Lifeline counselors who find out what the challenges are and provide help as required.

“Sometimes the Lifeline contact ends with that single conversation and sometimes it requires further engagement. The Lifeline counselors are volunteers and they sometimes reach back to people or take calls back again from people. There is a back and front that resolves issues and sometimes we refer specific mental health issues to mental professionals for further engagement and management”.

The Permanent Secretary stated that the Lifeline is a 24hours service that has linkage to a much bigger program and services for mental health in Lagos state.

Also speaking, the Head Special Projects and State Mental Health Desk Officer, Dr. Tolu Ajomale explained that the goals of the Lifeline are to: provide Psychological First Aid and Social Support service, alleviate the strain on existing public health resources by creating a coordination point to refer patients for appropriate care and serve as a Mental Health campaign Feedback system.

Other goals according to him are to: create valuable data points that can be used to track prevalence and cycle of care for Mental Health in Lagos State, access to mental health services for patients in hard-to-reach areas, improve linkages for victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence and Suicidal Threats and Emergency Medical Services.

“The Lifeline will also provide the opportunity to improve training and access to skill development in Mental Health for Staff, Volunteers, and Interns; create a partnership Hub for Multinationals, Corporate Organizations and NGOs with interests in Mental Health; evaluate the acceptance of Telehealth in wider Healthcare Space and serve as an advocacy Hub to improve uptake of State health programs including Health Insurance and information dissemination during epidemics.

“The service will be running 24hrs, it has multiple access points, you can also book appointments via email to speak with a counselor and we also have good networks with private providers as well.

“We have different kinds of calls that will be coming in over the couple of weeks because we have been testing the service; we have people with mood disorder, suicidal ideations, substance abuse. Parents have called on behalf of their children as well to ask and speak about some of these issues and to seek help regarding them. So we are much honoured to launch this service and to increase the scope of its delivery”, Ajomale said.

Signed

Tunbosun Ogunbanwo
Director, Public Affairs
29th April, 2021

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Pyrates warns against extra-judicial killing, insecurity, harassment in S’East, S’South

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The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity), has warned security agencies against extra-judicial killing and harassment of innocent Nigerians in the course of fishing out those responsible for the killings of security personnel and attacks on security formations and those fuelling insecurity in the South- East and South-South.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday during deliberations of the Security Council meeting approved undisclosed new security measures for the two regions aftermath of multiple attacks on security formations.

The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje, in a statement titled ‘The Growing Tempest in East & South’   said it is important “that the security services do not engage in presumption group-blame, collective punishment, and extra-judicial killings in the course of investigating these crimes”.

Owoaje pointed out that such “unbridled illegalities and high-handedness will only go to further alienate local communities, and deepen the antipathy that already characterizes the relationship between them and law enforcement agencies.”

The association while strongly condemning the attacks and killing of security personnel condoled with families that lost loved ones and urged the government to do all within the confines of the law to get the perpetrators and make them face the fall wrath of the law.

According to him, NAS is disturbed that the insecurity in the two regions has further exacerbated the deteriorating security situation in the country.

Owoaje called on the government to move swiftly, and with unaccustomed competence and diligence, to arrest the current climate of insecurity across the two regions.

The statement read in part “This gradual slide into anarchy in the South-East and South-South regions has the potential to expand the number of ungoverned spaces in Nigeria, further, stretch our security apparatus, and engender devastating social and economic consequences for the country as a whole.

“We urge the security agencies in the two regions to resist the temptation of seeing themselves as a force of occupation out to subjugate the people and unleash terror among the teeming law-abiding citizens. They should approach their task with a sincerity of purpose, and rein in the criminal elements intent on foisting terror and bloodletting. Evidence abounds of previous overzealous interventions by security agencies that have aggravated insecurity in the two regions rather than contain the same. Unprofessional conduct and prejudice from those entrusted with such operations must not be tolerated.

“The government and security agencies have a constitutional duty to protect the lives and property of the peace-loving residents of the two regions from harm. No innocent Nigerian should be harassed, intimidated, or made to suffer under any guise of combing for suspected criminal elements in the South-East and South-South regions.”

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LASG Okays Science-Based Quiz Competition For Secondary Schools, Targets Inventors

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As part of efforts to develop manpower that can address future challenges in Nigeria, the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSBL) has established a science-based educational quiz competition that would aid young inventors towards achieving their goals of producing technologies that could proffer solution to human needs across the country.

The science-based quiz competition, LSBL said, is Eko S.T.E.M Quiz, would prepare the students for science and technology and bridge the invention gap between Nigeria particularly in Lagos and other major cities globally.

According to the lotteries board, the EKO STEM competition was designed for the public and low-cost private secondary school students in Senior Secondary School (SSS) 2 to boost their passion for science and technology.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the lotteries board, Bashir Are, while addressing pressmen yesterday in Ikeja, added that the aim was to further sustain the ongoing development in the education sector embarked upon by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to take education to next level in Lagos.

Are noted that the intervention was part of the board’s functions, saying, we are allowed by section 33 of Lagos State Lotteries Board (amended) law of 2008 to give some interventions in Education, infrastructure, environment, social, and health in the state.

He added that the intervention in education development would ensure that the state has a skilled workforce that could address its challenges in science and technology which had continued to alter previous workforce arrangements globally.

Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lotteries, Olufunmilola Olotu, stressed that to prepare the students for the future, “it is important to proactively promote the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum”.

Olotu stated that quiz competition is a form of education, just as she described education as a process of acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

Olotu explained that this competition would provide the ground for the state government to achieve its goal in technology, preparing the mind of the students for the future, adding, the contents could be re-used for teaching.

The senior special assistant explained that the competition was essential for the children and that it would not only educate but also entertain the students in the country particularly Lagos.

She argued that the EKO STEM quiz competition would afford the students an opportunity to choose their career path and understand importance of teamwork.

Olotu, who emphasized that the year-long competition would be broadcast on Television for viewers that would watch from home, hinted that the ultimate prize for winners is a Scholarship award to study anywhere globally and a visit to the Silicon Valley.

“lt is our belief that in any educational system, academic competition is of utmost importance because it contributes to a child’s development and learning process. A healthy competition among academic institutions nurtures various values and opportunities, including but not limited to prestige, media exposure, monetary donations, and research grants,” she added.

Explaining modalities for the competition that is set to provide a platform for over 1,500 students to achieve their dream, the governor’s aide explained that preliminary examination would hold May 15th for both public and private schools across the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Area (LCDA).

According to her, all results will be collated and input into the online system, and with the system cut-off mark, those that had better scores will proceed to the Computer-Based examination stage and other stages.

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SANWO-OLU DELIVERS 14 HOUSING SCHEMES IN TWO YEARS

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… 21 Schemes In The Works, Says Commissioner

By the end of 2023, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would have delivered 35 housing schemes to close the huge deficit in the sector, Commissioner for Housing Mr. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai has said on Tuesday.

Of the schemes, 14 have been delivered within the first two years of the Sanwo-Olu administration, adding over 7,000 affordable housing units to the market.

Akinderu-Fatai spoke on the achievements of the Ministry of Housing during the ongoing inter-ministerial briefing to commemorate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s second year in office.

He said the Government was committed to reducing the housing deficit and providing affordable homes for the greater number of residents, stressing that the Sanwo-Olu administration would be delivering 21 housing schemes before the end of 2023.

The Commissioner was optimistic that the administration would realise its mass housing programmes, despite the prevailing economic situation in the country, adding that policies initiated had enhanced access for low- and high-income families.

He said: “The last two years have been eventful in the Ministry of Housing, as we have strengthened our efforts to realise the housing programmes of the current administration. We have completed and delivered various schemes across Lagos, including Lateef Jakande Gardens in Igando, Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme in Idale Badagry, LagosHOMS Lekki Phase 2 and Babatunde Raji Fashola Estate, Courtland Villas, Igbokushu, among others.

“We have four housing schemes recently completed and are due for commissioning in the coming days. They are located in Odo Onosa Ayandelu, Agbowa, Magodo/Omole, Gbagada and Ibeshe. In all, a total of 14 schemes have been completed and these added over 7,000 affordable housing units to the market. We have other ongoing housing projects, totalling 21 schemes, which are being developed through budgetary allocation and joint ventures.”

Speaking on affordability and accessibility of the schemes, Akinderu-Fatai said the homes are for both low and high net worth individuals in highbrow and low-income settlements, including Igando, Igbokusu, Lekki, Badagry, Igbogbo, Odo-Onosa/Ayandelu, Agbowa, Sangotedo, Epe, Ilubirin, Epe and Egan-Igando.

On the strategies to tackle the housing deficit, Akinderu-Fatai hinted that the State Government was partnering multinational development partners for the construction of mass housing estates. He said henceforth, housing provision would be in the realm of thousands of homes to drastically reduce the burden.

The Commissioner praised Sanwo-Olu for his commitment and passion at ensuring that greater number of residents achieve their dream of becoming homeowners, adding that the State Government needed the support of all stakeholders towards providing decent and stable shelter for residents.

He said: “The task of bridging the housing gap in Lagos is demanding and we are extending our willingness to private sector participants to come in and invest in the housing sector to reduce the hardship faced by the people in their quest for decent shelter.”

Akinderu-Fatai said that the Lagos Mortgage Board had strengthened the “Rent-to-Own” policy, putting many residents on the homeownership ladder. He pointed out that the scheme targeted first-time homeowners, saying: “It has given a good opportunity to both to the low and middle-income citizens to become home owners.”

In the housing development projects, the Commissioner said the State Government had boosted the local economy by hundreds of local workers, artisans, suppliers and contractors for the scheme.

“There are intense construction activities on many housing schemes all over the State revitalising the housing delivery value chain. The fact that the construction sites are active means economic engagement for hundreds of workers, artisans, suppliers and contractors. This brings vibrancy that increases the economic resilience of our people,” Akinderu-Fatai said.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Awoyinka-Benson, said the Government made efforts to make Lagos an investor-friendly State, given its housing development laws, and establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).

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