Nigeria’s foremost NGDO in the forefront of the quest to eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTDs in the country, the Mission To Save The Helpless (MITOSATH); is calling attention among stakeholders for the need for collaborative efforts to navigate the link between NTDs and Mental Health. As the world celebrates the 2022 edition, of the global Mental Health Day.
According to the Executive Director of MITOSATH, Dr Francisca Olamiju, studies and reports have shown that: “There is a need to call attention to the mental health needs of people affected by NTDs. People with NTDs are prone to mental health conditions, and people with mental conditions are at higher risk of an NTD”.
MITOSATH says that according to a WHO study, it shows that ” Mental health and psychosocial well-being should be recognised as important in NTD work, in view of the high levels of comorbidity and the impact on individuals and community well-being “.
Dr Francisca Olamiju states that according to a recent WHO report : “Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) frequently cause distress in affected people and their careers, because of both their direct impact and stigma and discrimination”.
Adding that WHO has started advocating for effective ways of supporting affected people and their careers. Addressing the issues of community stigma and discrimination should be appropriately considered in the health sector, as well as informal systems of care.
The foregoing speaks to the need to call for attention to the need for: “A collaborative, cross-sectoral approach to integrated care, as the most effective one for addressing NTDs and Mental Health. On a day that the world is celebrating the global Mental Health Day”.
NTDs are communicable and noncommunicable, often vector-born, diseases that occur in 150 tropical and subtropical countries.
These diseases affect more than one billion people globally and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year. Affecting populations living in poverty, without adequate access to water, sanitation and health services.