Accolades for Jibril Abdulmalik as Lagos State Health Commissioner Drums Support for Asido Foundation
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi has applauded the conscious and selfless efforts that the Asido Foundation is making to ameliorate the challenges of mental health.
Abayomi who spoke through Dr. Tolu Ajomale on Thursday during the launch of the book ‘Optimal Mental Health: An Everyday Guide’ in Lagos, expressed deep interest in the issue of mental health especially as it pertains to Nigerians.
While decrying the recent spate of suicide which has brought the issue of mental health to the front burners of private organisations as well as government, he said that Asido Foundation is doing one of the things that are critical for mental health. He added that through its founder, Dr. Jibril Abdulmalik, who is also the author of the book, the Foundation has taken an approach towards giving a voice to that aspect of health that didn’t receive much attention before now.
His words, “We are very pleased to be associated with the Asido Foundation, other NGOs, influencers and individuals who are lending their voice to scaling up the availability of mental health services. We know that as time progresses, Nigeria can set a framework for Africa and change the narrative around mental illness.”
Harping on the need for every hand to be on deck in the fight against stigmatization and achievement of optimal mental health, the commissioner said, “I believe that it is very important that beyond the role of government, every one of us as specialists should carry our expertise and our knowledge outside the four walls of our facilities into the communities where the information is actually required.
We need to permeate into every space especially the mainstream media and the movie industry where they are still sending the wrong messages about mental health and as NGOs, as influencers, it is important for us to translate the information into the language that the communities can understand. As government for Lagos, we are not resting o our oars, we have the new mental health law and it is meant to provide protection for those who have mental illness, to
reduce the impact of stigmatization and also ensure that the kind of care that we get for our people are the kind they deserve. This means that we are going to be knocking down all those facilities providing all sorts of inappropriate services.”
Speaking on the wealth of knowledge that lies therein the book, Dr. Wale Okediran, the chief reviewer, said Optimal Mental Health is a welcome development whose 358 pages and 79 chapters provides practical, anecdotal and emphatic mental stories that will keep the average reader turning the pages of he book. He opined that to him, what remains to be done, is to disaggregate the book into small well illustrated pamphlets and booklets for the benefit of children, young adults and the common man on the street who may be overwhelmed by the intellectual sagacity of the book. He added that Dr. Abdulmalik may even go further to produce the illustrated smaller versions in some indigenous languages so as to take his evangelism about mental health to all the nooks and crannies
Earlier, Dr. Abdulmalik revealed that the magnitude of suffering experienced by those affected by mental health challenges as well as their families, led him into focusing on Psychiatry. He noted also that to further be equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge to handle this delicate arm of medicine, he has completed three masters degree programmes in Health Planning and Management, International Mental Health Policy and Services and Child Adolescent Mental Health, and is currently rounding up a Doctorate of Philosophy in Public Mental Health.
Abdulmalik who is also a lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry, University College Hospital, Ibadan, revealed that Optimal Mental Health; An Everyday Guide is a compilation of three years of his newspaper health column in the Nigerian Tribune.
The event witnessed the presence of respected Nigerians from the medical profession and other walks of life including the Chairman of Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof. B.L Salako; President of Psychiatry Association of Nigeria, Prof. Lateef Sheikh amongst others. They all had goodwill messages for Dr. Abdulmalik as regards the book.