By Ajibola Abayomi
International migration advocate and the Rector of the Villanova Polytechnic, Imesi-Ile, Osun State, Nigeria, Professor Ikechukwu Anthony Kanu, has advised on how government could safeguard health of citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic.
His words were contained in a statement he made available to the over 200 media practitioners focusing on migration issues across the continents under the banner of the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) on Friday.
The don identified three major sources of mental health during the present pandemic to include fear- the fear of being a victim, anxiety and depression.
“Depression and anxiety could come from the lock down, loss of job, lack of money to care for oneself or family, the loss of a loved one, etc.
“However, whatever the cause, the government, society and individuals have the responsibility of safeguarding mental health. It is not the government’s responsibility alone” he said.
Kanu suggested steps to be taken by Government as follows:
“The government needs to ensure that providing mental health care services is made an important element in the country’s response to COVID-19.
“The government cannot do it alone. She therefore needs the help of Civil Societies, NGOs, and in fact the entire society. She would need to coordinate these resources appropriately.
“The government needs to educate communities on the need for community action which involves everyone being responsible for the other to reduce the impact of the lock down people’s mental health.”
The migration advocate added that “there is also the need for the government to educate her people on the need for individual action.
“That is, what individuals need to do for themselves, like: Staying, connected, keeping busy, getting physical activity, staying calm, managing information, sleeping well
and maintaining a routine.
“The safeguarding of mental health is therefore not just the responsibility of the government but must involve community and individual actions”.