World Mental Health Day, 2017: The Time to Address Mental Health in Nigeria is Now

Recent events in Nigeria have brought to the fore the need to pay attention to mental health issues in the country. The suicide of a doctor on Third Mainland Bridge in March 2017, the suicides and attempted suicides of young persons in universities in the country, and the attempted suicides of older women in Lagos, all reported in the news and amplified by social media, bring this home forcefully. So apt, then, for Nigeria is it that the World Health Organisation’s World Health Day 2017 focuses on Depression. Few supports are currently available for mental health development and management in […]

CHELD appointed to the National Technical Working Group on the National Health Act, 2014

One of the highlights for universal health coverage in Nigeria and for using the instrumentality of law to promote better health outcomes was the passage and the Presidential Assent to the National Health Act, in late 2014.  There is much hope that this Act will fulfil its promises to ensure that every Nigeria receives a minimum health package (See Section 3), and that effective, qualitative, affordable, and accessible health care will become every Nigerian’s tangible entitlement.  At CHELD, we have begun the process of educating every Nigeria with access to the internet about the provisions of this Act. To ensure […]

Nigeria’s National Health Act and the Promise of Universal Health Coverage

Recently, I found myself stupefied by a statement by Dr Femi Thomas, the Executive Director of the NHIS on the amounts spent on health versus the amounts needed for universal health coverage in Nigeria. Currently we expend about 2.5 trillion naira, which includes premiums for national health plans, monies spent out of pockets and various governments spending on health.  What does this sum get us? A system in which millions of Nigerians lack access to basic health care.  Yet, a significantly 1.8 trillion naira would get us universal health coverage, where a much larger number of population would have basic […]

Violence Against Women in Nigeria and the Need for a Women’s Fund

It is early in 2015 but several cases of domestic abuse and violence have already reached CHELD’S doors. What many of these cases have in common aside from the abuse is financial considerations.  Financial issues have featured prominently in the stories we have heard about abuse ranging from husbands preventing their wives from working or/and denying them funds for necessities that include children’s school fees, health services and even food.  This abuse feeds into an inability to access helpful organisations such as those listed in The Red Diary. For instance, several women I have talked to this year have had […]

Nigeria’s National Policy for Mental Health Delivery 2013

“There are less than 150 psychiatrists in the country (around 1 per 1 million population) and very few neurologists., with many newly trained specialists leaving the country to work abroad. There are around 5 psychiatric nurses per 100,000 population and only very few other mental and neurological health professionals like clinical psychologists, social workers, neurophysiotherapists, and occupational therapists. The systems that support delivery of services are currently weak, with poor availability of psychotropic drugs and lack of incorporation of mental and neurological health measures in health information systems.” – National Policy on Mental Health Delivery, 2013   Did you know that Nigeria […]

Health in 2015: Making Every Life Count

2014 was a remarkable year in the Nigerian health sector’s history. The first positive thing that comes to the minds of most people is the effective containment of the Ebola Virus Disease, which still inspires instinctive gratitude and laudatory comments. The heroism of Dr Stella Adadevoh will not easily be forgotten nor will government action when it mattered. The passing and signing of the National Health Act into law in late 2014 by President Goodluck Jonathan was also a progressive step, especially in light of the possibilities conceived by that Act and the decade-long delay in enacting it.  Also positive […]

On Ebola: Going Forward

As terrifying as the Ebola virus is, the Nigerian experience has shown that it is both possible and advantageous to strengthen national capacities to manage and contain the spread of the disease. Another important lesson is that disease-centered capacity-building can be locally-generated, and adaptable to different kinds of outbreaks. The process of strengthening national capacity should not start and end with successfully containing a single outbreak, but rather, should aim at designing rapid response and emergency care systems that work both in and out of crisis periods.   If unchecked, the untreatable nature of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) could lead […]


The euphoria of Nigeria being Ebola free is yet to subside, despite fears of possible reintroduction of the disease into Nigeria amidst raging infection rates in neighbouring West African countries. The death toll of the present Ebola epidemic is so alarming that there is really little to celebrate, upon consideration that Nigeria’s borders are porous.Already there are fears that vigilance have waned and Nigerians back to old practices which could engender unchecked spread of the disease in the event of an exposure.Going back memory lane, therefore, upon a consideration of a few challenges posed during those dark days of attempting […]

Conversations on Domestic Violence

To commemorate, the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women, The Centre for Health Ethics Law and Development (CHELD) hosted another edition of its Conversations on Domestic Violence on Saturday December 6, 2014. This event was held in the lovely ambience of Ginger Tapas Bar and Grill, one of the sponsors of the event.  In attendance were: Envera Selmonic,  the United Nations Chief Representative at the United Nations Information Centre, Kehinde Iyade, representing the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender, Ndidi Nwuneli MFR,  Founder of LEAP and Director AACE Foods, Dr Orode Doherty, Country Director, Africare,  Dr […]

The National Health Act

The National Health Act has been ten years in the making, as chronicled in this Nigeria Health Watch piece written by Felix Abraham Obi. The harmonised version was passed by both the lower and upper house of the National Assembly and submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan for assent on October 28th 2014. After nearly two months of advocacy and keeping up pressure on the President to sign the bill into law by Health Sector Reform Coalition, Nigeria Health Watch and a number of other health CSOs/NGOs,  including CHELD, the Nigeria’s National Health Act is finally reality! Official confirmation arrived this past Tuesday, December 9, […]