The Role of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Community-based Mental Health Services in Northern Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.09.04.Art003

Authors : Anyebe, E.E, Abubakar F.U, Garba, S.N, Murtala, H.H, Igbinlade, A.S


Despite the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in many health issues, their role in community mental health services in parts of northern Nigeria is unknown. This study explored the availability and role of NGOs in community-mental health care services, with a view to identifying the prospects and challenges. Using the convergent mixed methods approach, a self-constructed questionnaire and in-depth interviews were used to collect data from 205 conveniently and purposively selected study participants. Descriptive and thematic analyses were done and then triangulated to meet research objectives. There is a scarcity of mental health-related NGOs in the study areas; only one NGO engaged in the mental health activities was identified (13.4%). Surprisingly attempts by the only available NGO at providing the needed community-based mental health care were “frustrated” by certain government policy directions, which appear to paralyse activities and intentions of the only existing one. NGOs for mental health care are lacking. There is a dire need for NGO activities in mental health care. Efforts should be made to attract NGOs to the study areas in view of the increasing burden of mental health issues in the communities in the setting. Governments at all levels, community-based organisations and traditional institutions can be instrumental to this. NGOs within and outside the study areas focusing on community health in general and mental health care, in particular, may also interrogate this situation further for urgent intervention.

Keywords: Community mental health care, Collaboration, NGOs, Northern Nigeria.


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