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Mental health system governance in Nigeria: challenges, opportunities and strategies for improvement

  • J. Abdulmalik (a1), L. Kola (a2) and O. Gureje (a2)
Abstract
Introduction

A health systems approach to understanding efforts for improving health care services is gaining traction globally. A component of this approach focuses on health system governance (HSG), which can make or mar the successful implementation of health care interventions. Very few studies have explored HSG in low- and middle-income countries, including Nigeria. Studies focusing on mental health system governance, are even more of a rarity. This study evaluates the mental HSG of Nigeria with a view to understanding the challenges, opportunities and strategies for strengthening it.

Methodology

This study was conducted as part of the project, Emerging Mental Health Systems in Low and Middle Income Countries (Emerald). A multi-method study design was utilized to evaluate the mental HSG status of Nigeria. A situational analysis of the health policy and legal environment in the country was performed. Subsequently, 30 key informant interviews were conducted at national, state and district levels to explore the country's mental HSG.

Results

The existing policy, legislative and institutional framework for HSG in Nigeria reveals a complete exclusion of mental health in key health sector documents. The revised mental health policy is however promising. Using the Siddiqi framework categories, we identified pragmatic strategies for mental health system strengthening that include a consideration of existing challenges and opportunities within the system.

Conclusion

The identified strategies provide a template for the subsequent activities of the Emerald Programme (and other interventions), towards strengthening the mental health system of Nigeria.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: J. Abdulmalik. Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. (Email: jfutprints@yahoo.com)
Linked references
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Global Mental Health
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2054-4251
  • URL: /core/journals/global-mental-health
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