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WHO reports global shortfall in mental health investment

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The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new Mental Health Atlas paints a disappointing picture of a worldwide failure to provide people with the mental health services they need.

In a statement made available on Saturday, it said it happened at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was highlighting a growing need for mental health support.

“World misses most 2020 mental health targets; extension of WHO Mental Health Action Plan to 2030 provides new opportunity for progress reading time, four minutes (1003 words).

“The latest edition of the atlas, which includes data from 171 countries, provides a clear indication that the increased attention given to mental health in recent years has yet to result in a scale-up of quality mental services that is aligned with needs,” the global health agency said.

According to WHO, the Atlas is a compilation of data provided by countries around the world on mental health policies, issued every three years.

Others are legislation, financing, human resources, availability and utilisation of services and data collection systems.

According to the global health body, it is also the mechanism for monitoring progress towards meeting the targets in WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan.

“It is extremely concerning that, despite the evident and increasing need for mental health services, which has become even more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic, good intentions are not being met with investment.

“We must heed and act on this wake-up call and dramatically accelerate the scale-up of investment in mental health, because there is no health without mental health,” it quoted Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, as saying.

The statement said that none of the targets for effective leadership and governance for mental health, provision of mental health services in community-based settings, mental health promotion and prevention, and strengthening of information systems, were close to being achieved.

It said that in 2020, just 51 per cent of WHO’s 194 member states reported that their mental health policy or plan was in line with international and regional human rights instruments, way short of the 80 per cent target.

 

It said that only 52 per cent of countries met the target relating to mental health promotion and prevention programmes, also well below the 80 per cent target.

 

WHO noted that the only 2020 target met was a reduction in the rate of suicide by 10 per cent, but even then, only 35 countries said they had a stand-alone prevention strategy, policy or plan.

 

It said that steady progress was evident, however, in the adoption of mental health policies, plans and laws, as well as in improvements in capacity to report on a set of core mental health indicators.

It said that, however, the percentage of government health budgets spent on mental health has scarcely changed during the last years, still hovering around two per cent.

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Abuja-Kaduna train resumes operation Saturday – NRC

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Barely 24 hours after suspending the Abuja-Kaduna trains for safety reasons, the Nigerian Railway Corporation says the services will resume Saturday October 23.

The suspension followed an explosion attack by hoodlums on the Abuja-Kaduna rail track Wednesday evening, which the corporation said affected the locomotive tank of a Kaduna-bound train.

Although there have been conflicting accounts of the attack with some attributing it to bandit or terrorist attack, the Managing Director of the corporation said in an interview on Friday night that the NRC team of engineers and technicians had fixed the problem and was certified that the train service could resume on the route after carrying out extensive an inspection of the line.

The NRC also said in a statement issued Friday evening that the Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) would “resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am.”

The statement read in part, “The board and management of the Nigerian railway corporation (NRC) hereby inform the general public, particularly our valued passengers that Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am. Subsequent train services continue.

“The NRC once again sincerely apologises for the inconvenience.”

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Motorists, travellers stranded as Delta bridge collapses

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There was confusion in part of Delta State on Friday following the collapse of the Umutu Bridge in the Ukwuani Local Government Area of the state, leaving several motorists and travellers on the Agbor-Abraka-Eku road stranded.

The incident reportedly occurred in the early hours of the day, adding that the aged long bridge gave way as a Trailer conveying heavy duty construction bulldozer was passing through it towards the Agbor axis of the state.

The deplorable condition of federal road has been on the news, with report of the road project already awarded for reconstruction by the federal government.

The road link many communities in the state and connect the people with other parts of the country, particularly Northern and South-East states.

Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Ochor Christopher Ochor who hails from the area, regretted that the federal government had not given such an important road the desired attention.

Ochor who spoke to our Correspondent, described the collapsed of the bridge as unfortunate and sympathized with stranded motorists and travelers for the pains it may have caused them.

He said he had already contacted the Commissioner for Work in charge of Urban and Highways roads in the State, Mr Neol Omodion, who has promised to take necessary steps to address the ugly situation.

Ochor however stressed the need to beef up security in the area to protect the lives and properties of the stranded travelers, calling on the federal government to reconstruct the road due to its strategic position  to the socio economic development of the area.

 

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W/Bank: Higher inflation ahead as oil price hits $86/barrel

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The World Bank Group says a higher global inflation rate is ahead, noting the current oil price rise may continue into 2022, after recording 80 per cent higher this year than what it was in 2020.

The latest Commodity Markets Outlook released on Thursday reported the global lender as saying higher oil prices were also impacting food security in some countries already.

This came as Brent Crude prices hit $86.10 per barrel early on Thursday, jumping to the highest level in three years, before retreating to just above $85 amid profit-taking.

Experts said the reluctance of OPEC+ to pump more in the short term suggests that oil prices will remain well supported for the remainder of this year.

Although Nigeria has set a $57 per barrel benchmark for the 2022 budget, it is expected to produce 1.88 million barrels per day while targeting N3.16 trillion from oil proceeds.

The World Bank outlook indicated that energy prices soared in the third quarter of 2021 and are expected to remain elevated in 2022, adding to global inflationary pressures and potentially shifting economic growth to energy-exporting countries from energy-importing ones.

“Energy prices, expected to average more than 80% higher in 2021 compared to last year, will remain at high levels in 2022 but will start to decline in the second half of the year as supply constraints ease.”

The global bank however feared that non-energy prices, including agriculture and metals, are projected to decrease in 2022, following strong gains this year.

Chief Economist and Director of the World Bank’s Prospects Group, Ayhan Kose, said, “The surge in energy prices poses significant near-term risks to global inflation and, if sustained, could also weigh on growth in energy-importing countries.”

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