Psychological association rues exclusion of members from Corona Virus management teams
The Nigerian Psychological Association (NPA) says services of its members where important in the management of Corona Virus outbreak in the country.
The association said this in a statement issued in Awka on Wednesday.
The statement which was signed by Prof Michael Ezenwa, its National President expressed worry over the non inclusion of NPA members in the national action team.
It said the Corona Virus required psychological adjustment in the social interaction of the people both as a way of avoiding infection and also way of coping with the disease.
The Psychologists commended the efforts of the federal and Lagos State government for their ability to manage the situation which had kept fatality at low rate
Some of the effort included setting up of response team, closure of all borders, fumigation of the location considered to be critical in control of the pandemic and the recent lockdown.
“While these measures are important, NPA regrets the non inclusion of psychologists in the COVID-19 national response team, task forces and other levels of engagement to enhance better outcome.
“It is important to emphasize the fact that Nigeria requires two major approaches if she must defeat this pandemic, these are attitudinal change to prevent fresh infections and management of identified cases, these require major input from psychologists.
“For example, handshaking and social intimacy are integral aspects of our social realities and introducing changes in these areas of behaviour require major evidence based contributions from psychologists
“Given the number and expertise of psychologists in the country, Nigeria cannot afford to ignore such a resource to save the people, the economy and other capital within the shortest possible time,” it stated.
The Psychological association feared that there would be heightened anxiety and uncertainty which could result to depression, nervous breakdown and possible mental disorder and that there was need for professional psychological support.
“Already, many cases of Chloroquine poisoning, non compliance with government and experts’ directives, the disbelief by some persons in the reality of the disease and similar undesirable conducts that resist the control efforts have been reported.
“Psychologists can help to reduce the high level of anxiety, worry, and uncertainty and panic behavioural patterns in the population, psychological support is extremely needed by persons in isolation, in treatment and by their relations.
“Persons that develop fear, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, suicidal thoughts, substance use disorders or other stress reactions as a result of the control measures including the lockdown need support.
“In the light of the foregoing, the NPA calls on the Federal and State Governments, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, the COVID-19 response teams and task forces at all levels to integrate psychologists within their ranks to enhance the ongoing efforts.
Indeed, it is high time psychological services were included as part and parcel of our national emergency response as a matter of course as there is no health without mental health all over the globe,” he said.
The association thanked many patriotic Nigerians and organisations that have donated generously in cash or kind to support the government efforts at containing this pandemic.
It called on the receiving agencies to make the best use of these resources for the overall benefits of Nigerians.