Poor Funding Cripples Nigeria’s Oldest Psychiatric Hospital

Psychiatrist decries high rate of recession-associated depression
Nigeria's Minister of Health Isaac Folorunso Adewole

Inadequate funding has stifled the operations of the over 114-year-old Federal Neuron Psychiatric Hospital (FNPH), Calabar, Cross River State in South-south Nigeria.

Currently, the facility cannot carry out research to generate new knowledge in the management of mental problems.

The Medical Director of the hospital, Joseph Okegbe, confirmed this in Calabar Tuesday.

Mr. Okegbe said funding challenge has stifled critical components of the hospital, especially in the area laboratory investigations.

“The only challenge is that we have no money. The hospital is not properly funded. So, we cannot carry out our mission and vision statements. If we have money, we could tackle other challenges,” he lamented.

“The moment we have funds, we will embark on research to provide new knowledge on how to manage mental problems, take care of patients, especially in the areas of laboratory and medical investigations.’’

Now, he said the hospital cannot carry out specialised tests such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), among others.

Asked why it has not removed psychiatric patients from the streets of Calabar, Mr. Okegbe said it is not the responsibility of the hospital pick sick people from the street.

However, he said, “We can treat them when they are brought to the hospital by parents.”

Mr. Okagbe, therefore, called on the Cross River State Government to assist the hospital in the provision of basic infrastructure and logistics, to aid its operations.

The psychiatric hospital, the oldest in the country, was constructed by the colonial government.

It was inherited by the erstwhile Eastern Regional Government before Cross River State was created.

The Cross River State Government had managed the hospital till 1995 when the Federal Government took over.

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