By Onyeananam Chidinma
The University of Maryland in collaboration with Imo State Agency for the Control of Aids has embarked on a 5-day mental Health Training program to improve the life of persons living with HIV/AIDS.
The ongoing Capacity building , cum research and training program taking place at Villas -Sur -Rive Hotel in the capital city of Owerri , from 3rd -8th December have participants from the health sector , clergy , and other sector of the economy in attendance.
Addressing newsmen , the program manager cum local support personnel Dr. Ijeoma Ibeh expressed happiness on the event ,she said the program will serve as an avenue for health facilities to know how to handle mental health related challenges in HIV/AIDS patients., she expressed dismay on the high rate of youths involved in the abuse of drugs.
Also in her speech , the representative of Global health University of Maryland school of nursing Dr. Challotte Nwogwugwu commended the program, she maintained that it will be an access point for health facilities to diagnose , treat, and create awareness about mental health conditions in HIV/AIDS patients.
A consultant Psychiatrist at the federal University teaching hospital Owerri, Dr.Inechi MacDonald said the root cause of mental health challenge in HIV/AIDS patients is due to emotional trauma, he urged those already diagnosed of the disease not to see it as an end , adding that they can still live their normal life .
In his remarks , Mr Chinedu Ugwuezumba of Imo state agency for HIV/AIDS , who spoke on behalf of Imo State Commissioner for health ,Dr prosper Ohayaga , disclosed that the participants were chosen from 10 health Facilities in Imo state , in which after the program they are expected to go back to their Clinic and make sure HIV/AiDS patients are tested for mental disorder before admission, he hinted that the disease prevalence in Nigeria is 1.4 percent of the total population while Imo state has prevalence of 1.8 percent.
In their respective views the principal medical officer Aboh Mbaise general hospital, Dr. Nwachukwu ifeanyi, Dr. Echebima Ada , Mr Vitus Onyeze and Mrs Igwe Nkechinyere said the program will go a long way in solve the mental health challenges of HIV/AIDS patients, they commended the event , describing it as a bold step in the right direction, while applauding the theme “integrating Mental health into HIV/AIDS In Clinics”.