Interactive Session with Herbal Medical Practitioners on Mental Health

Activities and services of the Herbal Medical Practitioners in Nigeria are not recognized and given attention by government in terms of credibility, even though we treat various illnesses including mental health problems ”Dr. Obalola Aremu, President Herbal Mental Practitioners – FCT Chapter. Stakeholders such as PPFN, ActionAid Nigeria, NINERERA+, Ummah Support Initiative, NEPHWAN, MSA, CACA, Defense Medical Center, TB Network, and Herbal Medical Practitioners assembled on 24th July, 2014  at Gede Foundation to participate in a discussion on the perspective of the Herbal Medical Practitioners on mental health service delivery. This was our first in the series of dialogues and was an informative and interactive session. The Herbal Medical Practitioners shared their perceptions, practices and challenges. Key in their service delivery of mental health is the fact that clients with mental health problems were no longer subjected to mishandling (such as chaining and beating especially violent clients) as used to be the practice. Issues identified as challenges in the Herbal Medical Practitioners’ practice were no standard guideline of practice, non-uniformity in service delivery especially in area of treatment, stigmatization of persons practicing herbal medicine and poorly organized structure of this group of providers. These issues were seen to affect their deliveries in mental health and other health burdens. Some of the feedback from participants on these challenges were, understanding what the National Policy on Mental Health Service Delivery in Nigeria recommends for Herbal Medicine Practitioners to have a systematic structure, establish linkage with other stakeholders for training on best practice and having a more harmonized methods of delivering their services. The meeting allowed participants to have an idea of practice of the Herbal Medical Practitioners. For more information mail Ekaette Udoekong on