Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, southwest of Nigeria, on Monday, October 11, signed into law the state’s Mental Health Service bill and promised to prioritise qualitative health services delivery to the people.
Dr Fayemi, while signing the bill into law, stressed the importance of ensuring that people living with mental disorders have access to appropriate care.
According to him, catering for the welfare of all members of the society regardless of their physical, mental or social status was indicative of the level of commitment to delivering universal health coverage.
“The new law would protect, provide care and treat persons living with mental health disorders in order to save them from unnecessary stigma and marginalisation.
“This aspect when not protected would have increased the likelihood of their human rights being violated,” he said
Fayemi noted that the framework would handle critical issues of hospitalisation and provision of high-quality care among others.
He said the core objectives of the law includes establishing purpose-built mental health facilities and medical Social Work Department and units in selected secondary and tertiary medical facilities.
Others are to guarantee the protection of persons suffering from mental disorders or illnesses and substance abuse in the state.
He said that the law would ensure that every person living with mental disorders have access to mental health care facilities by receiving and being admitted for treatment in a designated facility.
“As I sign this bill into law, I am fully convinced that the people of Ekiti State will be the best for it.
“This law is another promise kept in our pursuit to deliver qualitative, people-centred healthcare solution to Ekiti Kete that leaves no one behind.
“It will complement other efforts towards ensuring adequate health and social protection for our people, and we are grateful to God for the privilege of being the instrument through which His love for the vulnerable amongst us is demonstrated,” he said.
Earlier, the First Lady of the Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, appreciated the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Honourable Funminiyi Afuye and his colleagues, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda and the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Bamji Filani, for the policy framework and speedy passage of the bill.
She noted the difficulty that might arise from driving the various initiatives of the administration without the necessary legal and policy framework.
The wife of the governor explained that as the Chair of the Gender-Based Violence Management Committee, she was aware of the connection between mental health and gender-based violence.
She said that was the reason she had remained a strong advocate for a mental health bill.
In his remarks, Funminiyi Afuye, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, said that the mental health law has made Ekiti stand out as a clear leader in legislative governance which concerns the health and well-being of the people.